Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 Scams to Watch Out For

As long term readers know, once a year I write an article exposing scams and con artists. This year we explore three scams of 2015. By no means are these the only ones out there as con artists never cease to amaze in their abilities to reinvent past scams and come out with new ones. If you don't want to read the detail you can get the scam summary at the beginning of the article.

2015 Scam Summary:

The three scams and their variations discussed below are:

1. The phone scam.
2. The lunch or dinner scam.
3. The job scam.

You can read more about these scams below which I encourage as the detailed descriptions also contain resources on how to avoid each of these scams. Here are the details:

1. The phone scam.

This is a scam that has been around for decades and comes in almost infinite varieties. Simply phone scams are those that call you on your phone and try and get you to buy crap or give up your personal data like credit card or bank account.

Protecting yourself is easy, just hang up the phone and get on the Do Not Call list. Here is a great article on what not to do:

What Not to do on the phone:

2. The dinner or lunch scam.

The lunch or dinner scam sucks you in with a free meal. However nothing is EVER free. After these supposedly free meals you get hit with a hard sell and sometimes heavy and illegal pressure. While we all like a free meal, the best way to avoid the lunch or dinner scam is to not accept that invitation

Sometimes a free meal is just that. So how do you know which "free" meals to avoid? If you are asked to make a buying decision on ANYTHING as a result of the meal, then you should just say no and tell the promoter to never bother you again and to remove your name from their list. Examples include: pre-paid professional services  investment scams  and cell phone scams

3. The job scam.

This scam and it's varieties lure you in with the promise of a job, typically one you can do from your own home. These scammers target single parents with the promise of easy supplemental income. Here are some tips on how to avoid these scams: Online job scams and Spotting a job scam

Scams take two players: 1) The con artist and 2) The victim. Since few con artists will read this article, let's focus on how to avoid being the victim. First and most important is the willingness to say NO! For some of us that is easy but for others, especially the elderly, infirm, disabled or sick that is not as easy. Scams on seniors have been on the increase for years and the reason is that seniors are vulnerable.

Second is our natural impulse that attracts us to getting something for nothing. The problem is that there are truly very few things that have no cost at all. We all know this, officials in every community in the country preach this and yet we still seek that something for nothing. The best general rule is that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Here are some more resources to protect yourself:

Tips from law enforcement

Avoiding Internet Scams

Avoiding Email Scams

Avoiding financial scams

Protecting yourself from con artists and avoiding being scammed is much like preventing forest fires: only you are your best protection and only you can actually prevent being scammed. Please read these articles and apply these tips to your own life. Exercise your ability to say know, to turn down that free lunch or dinner and to understand that offers to good to be true really are.

If you know or are a senior there are some additional steps to consider. First is understanding that seniors are targeted by con artists. What the FBI says about seniors Seniors and the elderly are among are most vulnerable citizens. Here are some good resources for seniors seeking to protect themselves and family members seeking to protect an elderly loved one:

Protecting yourself as a senior

Protecting an elderly loved one

Let me know your thoughts and please join our conversation. Protecting ourselves and loved ones is a big job and I hope that this article and resources will help you avoid scams and con artists. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

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