Keeping your savings and identity safe
Because many older adults own their homes outright, have retirement savings, and were taught by their parents to be trusting and polite, they are often targeted by unscrupulous people looking for easy money. According to the police, “con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say no.”
Common scams targeted at seniors include miracle cures, sweepstakes prizes, health surveys, foreclosure rescue and investment offers. “con artists are smart, extremely persuasive and aggressive, and present themselves as well mannered, friendly and helpful. They purposely devise complex offers that confuse their targets.”
If a telephone or door-to-door salesperson talks quickly, doesn’t answer your questions, or leaves you confused about the details of the offer, something is probably wrong. Tell him or her you’d prefer to think about it and may call may back. Do not let anyone rush you into signing anything. Say you need time to have someone you trust look it over. If it is a legitimate salesperson, he will honor your request. If he insists that you make a decision or sign something right away, he probably does not have your best interest in mind.
The police advises seniors to remember one easy rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. They further advises never to give your credit card, bank account or social insurance number over the phone, through the mail, over the Internet, by text message or to someone who comes to your door, unless you have initiated the contact. Also, be sure to shred, and not just throw away, any papers that contain this information.
Other advice offered by the police includes not buying health products that claim quick cures, never accepting offers from home repair companies who “just happened to be in the neighborhood,” not wiring money to someone you don’t know, and not paying for something you receive in the mail that you didn’t order. Remember not to carry your social insurance card with you, and never to write your social insuracne number on a check.
Monitor your credit activity by ordering your credit report at least twice a year and checking for unusual activity. Be sure to check your monthly bank account and credit card statements carefully.
If you think that you have been the victim of fraud, don’t feel embarrassed to report it. Con artists are very good at what they do, and even the most astute people have been tricked. Report fraud by contacting your local police department.
You can order your credit report by calling Trans Union at 877-322-8228, Experian at 888-397-3742 or Equifax at 877-322-8228. Order a report from all three companies, because reports can vary.Back To Top