Con Games & Scams
Con artists are rarely violent. Once the con artist has gained your confidence, he / she will use it to get your money.
Some examples of con games and scams:
- Home repair - offers of free estimates and inspections
- Debt consolidation - offers with high interest rates
- Medical fraud - never buy “miracle cures”
If you feel uneasy about an offer or someone, trust your instincts. Check out the company or person by asking for references and ask to see their state licenses. Check with your local Better Business Bureau.
Signs of Fraud
- A company refuses to give written information
- Must decide now
- Must pay to win or must pay now
- Pressure you for a credit card number
- Tell you that the initial investment will be worth it. A scanner might offer you a "risk-free" investment only to steal your money. All investments involve risk, so consult with trusted family members and friends before you invest.
- They instruct you not to tell anyone
- You're asked to send money via wire transfer
- Your personal information is requested
- You're asked to buy gift cards and provide them with the card numbers and code
If an offer seems like it is “too good to be true,” it probably is.
Other Scams & Fraud
Examples of other scams or fraud include:
- Phishing: Some scammers pretend to represent your bank or a government agency and ask for your bank account number, password, or Social Security number. Your bank will never request your personal information unexpectedly. Do not respond to such requests.
- Grandparent scams: Watch for con artists posing as grandchildren. They may call and say, "Hi Grandma" or "Hi Grandpa," and report that they are stuck in another country and need you to send money via wire transfer. Of course, any money you send will go to the scammer, not to your real grandchild. When in doubt, hang up and call a trusted family member.
- Reverse mortgage abuse: A reverse mortgage is not inherently a scam; It is a loan accruing interest that allows older consumers to convert home equity into cash. However, some unscrupulous salespeople might pressure you into taking out a reverse mortgage that has very high fees.
Jury Duty Scam Alert!
The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies themselves as an officer of the court. They tell you that you have failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller then says they’ll need some information for “verification purposes” - your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number.
This is when you should hang up the phone, it's a scam.
The judicial system does not contact people by telephone and ask for personal information such as your date of birth, social security number, or credit card numbers. If you receive one of these phone calls, do not provide any personal or confidential information to these individuals
There is a burglary in the United States every 15.4 seconds. Most burglaries (62%) happen between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Burglars like to get in and get out as quickly as possible, so let's make them think twice about entering your home by making it more difficult for them.
Home Safety Tips:
- Always keep your garage closed. Burglars will often drive through the neighborhood to seek potential targets. If there is anything valuable in your garage, you may be their next target.
- Burglars will sometimes ring the front doorbell to see if you are home, then go to the back door to break in. Make sure all your doors are secure. Use a deadbolt lock on all entrances.
- If you are unsure that your home is secure, call your law enforcement and ask them to do a check of your home to see if it is secure.
- Install simple motion detector lights.
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed and away from doors and windows.
- Keep your valuables out of your master bedroom. A burglar looking for valuables in a home will make the master bedroom their first stop.
- Make your home look lived in when you are away. Make sure your lawn is taken care of, have your mail and newspapers stopped, put a television, light or radio on a timer to make it seem like someone is home.
- Make sure you lock every entry to your house even if you are only leaving for a short time.
- Put up an alarm system sign even if you don’t have an alarm. This will make any burglar think twice about entering your home.
- Use a simple door jam on a patio or deck door as extra security.
Personal Information, Identity Theft & Scams Are On the Rise
Do not give out any personal information to anyone you don't know and / or trust; this includes your date of birth, social security number, credit card numbers, or banking information.
Consider putting yourself on a no-call list to limit unwanted solicitations and protect yourself from possible scams.
Identity Theft Begins With Your Stolen Wallet
If your wallet or purse is stolen, you could become a victim of identity theft. Photocopy the front and back of everything in your wallet. Before traveling, give copies to someone you trust so they can fax them to you if your wallet is lost or stolen.
Here are some examples of the things that can be done with stolen items commonly kept in a purse or wallet:
- ATM / Debit Card - with the information in your wallet, a thief can obtain a replacement PIN.
- Checkbook - checks can be duplicated using any check program that an office supply store or online printing company sells.
- Credit Cards - a thief can use your number to shop on the web or at any store. Memorize and scratch off the 3 digit code on the back.
- Department Store Receipts - if the receipt has a credit card or debit card number on it, the thief can use it to make a purchase anywhere.
- Driver’s License - a thief can get a duplicate made with his / her picture on it.
- Medicare Insurance Card - the medical number is typically the same as your social security number and there is no limit to what a thief can do with it.
- Other cards - your library, supermarket, voter registration, pharmacy, AAA or other cards can be used to your disadvantage.
- Phone card - a thief can sell it and they buyer can use it charging thousands of dollars to that number.
- Social Security Card - a thief can use it to steal your entire identity. There is no need to carry your social security card in your wallet.
Some useful tips to help prevent falls, or get help in case of a fall:
- Acquire a medical alert device so you can get help if you get injured and can't get to the phone.
- Bathroom - use bath rugs with rubber mats, and walk-in showers with skid protectors on the floor and grab bars on the walls to prevent falling and slipping. Make sure the bathroom door can be unlocked from the outside.
- Clutter - clear clutter from the floor, and make sure rugs are secure to the floor.
- Doors - be able to see visitors before you open the door. Install a garage door opener.
- Lighting - as we age, we need more light to see properly. Place nightlights where you traffic regularly and add lights where you need them. Some examples include:
- In the kitchen
- Pathways - clear pathways inside and out and make sure they're even and well-lit.
- Stairs - stairs should have railings. Keep each staircase well-lit.
- Use a buddy system so friends and / or family know where you are and what you are doing.