With all the
technology out there and the economy being what it is,
itís a scammerís delight. Work from home schemes to
internet fraud, the market is quite ripe for scammers
to target just about anyone.
Scammers see Seniors as an easy mark. Why? Seniors
tend to be more trusting. It used to be someoneís word
was gold and deals were sealed with a handshake and a
smile. Those were the Good íOle Days. In todayís
world, those days are ancient history.
You donít have to fall prey to scammers. There are
things you can do to protect yourself:
1. Ask questions. Lots of questions.
For example, a few years ago, in my disc jockey
business, I received an email from a scammer who said
he was from France. He wanted to book my services for
his wedding in the area. I read further and he wanted
to pay me 4 times my fee and have me wire him the
Sensing something wasnít quite right, I sent him my
usual response which included a ton of
questions about his wedding. My
questions included: Where is your wedding going to be?
What time is the ceremony? What time is the reception
to start? How many guests will there be in attendance?
What kind of music do you want played? The list goes
on. I do this to gain a rapport with my potential
He responded back focusing more on the money he wanted
to pay because he wanted to book my services
I responded back that I will need a signed contract
from him first. On it would be name, address, phone
number, and event information. Our emails volleyed
back and forth a few more times, each time he got more
belligerent about the money, but I would not waiver
from getting a signed contract from him. Ultimately,
he knew he wasnít going to get what he wanted from me
and I never heard from him again. It was a scam.
Donít be afraid to ask a stranger a lot of questions.
2. Donít share important and sensitive information,
such as bank account number, social security number,
Medicare ID number, Insurance ID number, or driverís
license number with someone who emails you, calls you,
or sends a letter to you simply asking you for it.
Follow this simple rule: if you donít know the entity
asking for that information,
they have no legitimate reason to have that
information. The only people that should have that
information are the entities you do business with
regularly like your doctor, attorney, family
caregivers, bank, mortgage, insurance agent, etc.
3. Donít be afraid to say NO!
You donít have to be pressured into making a decision.
You have the right to take your time and decide for
yourself. If a scammer uses the hard sell tactic, and
they most likely will to get what they want. They will
make it sound too good to be true. If it just doesnít
sound or feel right to you, itís OK to say NO and walk
away. Youíre not hurting their feelings, when they
know they wonít get what they want from you, theyíll
4. Arm yourself with information.
The Better Business Bureau,
www.minnesota.bbb.org, and the Federal Trade
www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm, are two
entities that keep up with information about the
latest scams. They also have a wealth of information
you can use to better protect yourself.