Holiday Fraud-Beware

With just a few shopping days left until Christmas, many are still scrambling to find that perfect gift for that special someone. We should always be aware of the scams and frauds that are out there, but particularly this time of year! Our senior population become the target audience for many scam artists. Don’t become a victim of fraud if you can help it-remember, if something is too good to be true, it most likely is.

If someone is pressuring you to make a sell or promising “high returns” and “great success” –walk away. If you are asked to provide money upfront for something or main offices and people who you need to get in touch with to finalize transactions are not local and far away, most likely these businesses are bogus. Check your credit card and bank statements monthly for any charges you do not recognize or can’t identify. Your bank will not e-mail or call you for your account number, so there is no need to give out that information over the phone to anyone.

Scams can also be done in person, door to door soliciting, and over the internet or the phone (most common). A common ploy is telling an older adult that their grandchild is “in trouble”, usually legal trouble and they must send money immediately to help them. Never wire money to anyone you don’t know, even if they say they know your children, grandchild, or any other family member. If you happen to be an internet shopper, don’t click on a computer link inside an e-mail to visit a website, unless you know the source. It is much safer to simply type the address into your browser instead. Fake websites can look legit, it is very easy to do these days. It’s best practice to verify the company with the BBB. Trust your gut. If it just doesn’t feel right DON’T DO IT!

Scamming never takes a holiday, it can happen at any moment and our seniors are particularly vulnerable all year round. If you have an elder in your family you might want to arrange for limited account oversight through their bank to help watch for suspicious transactions or other forms of fraud.