Fraud, Investments, and Our Elder Parents

Check out “Why Older People are Vulnerable to Fraud & How to Protect Them, a February 2017 New York Times article that describes the ways older adults are susceptible to fraudulent phone calls and offers, especially when it concerns investments. It also  makes suggestions about what people who get entangled in these offers can do. The report shares a study conducted by AARP.

Just about everyone receives telephone calls asking them to use their money to do something. The trick as one ages, I believe, is to avoid making any initial decision over the telephone and to be fairly abrupt or rude  — or just hang up — when answering the phone and discovering that a caller is attempting to sell something. The problem is, most of the elders in my life would never think of being rude — it is not a part of their personal DNA.

Most Interesting Findings   Continue reading

College Loan & IRS Scams — I Received Both Phone Calls Today

As if there are not enough scams, here’s another one — a college loan scam. I haven’t had college loans for years and years, but I am wondering if there will soon be a parent or grandparent component to the scam. Anyway, one more caller with malicious intent to be aware of when you answer the phone.

But it’s also the time of year for tax scammers. Make sure your parents know that if they get a phone call about IRS, they should NOT believe the caller. You can watch this video, posted at the IRS website, with them.

The Scams that Scare Grandparents About Their Grandkids

Click on the image to take the AARP Fraud Quiz.

Click here to take the AARP Fraud Quiz.

Recently a friend of mine told me about the grandparent scam. She described receiving a call at her home from a person who claimed to have a message from their granddaughter. The caller told my friend was that her  granddaughter was stranded in a foreign country and desperately needed financial help. Another friend of mine, a granddad, received a call  from a hysterical female claiming to actually be his granddaughter.

Now I have received a lot of scam calls, and I’ve shared the information with my parents and with lots of other people on this blog. I am, however, stunned that I’ve missed this one.                        Continue reading

IRS Scam Phone … Watch Out!

IMposter Phone Call experience

Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, an attorney at the FCC, shares her experience with an IRS scam call that she got at home.

The woman on the phone recording was serious and calm, but she said that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  was calling me with my last warning. I was told to press a number to speak with a live person and there might be a penalty if I did not answer. And yes, this woman sounded like she knew what she was talking about

Sigh!  Here we go again. I am so tired of phone scams. In this particular case I just slammed down the phone, but it was easy to imaging a worried elder following up the call by pressing the number to get a “real IRS person.” Sometimes the scammer leaves a message asking a person to call back. If you Google IRS phone scams there are some pretty funny recordings of people talking to these scammers.

Note: The IRS  will never call you with a “last warning.” In fact, IRS probably won’t ever call you at all  because the agency uses the U.S. postal service to communicate.

Here’s what’s posted on the IRS Site about the phone scam.     Continue reading

More on Fraud: AARP’s Fraud Watch and Other Helpful Sites

Click to visit AARP’s Fraud Watch and sign up for email alerts.

Click to visit AARP’s Fraud Watch and sign up for email alerts.

Check out Michelle Singletary’s Washington Post column, Let’s Band Together to Stop Scammers, a terrific piece that appeared today (September 28, 2014) and a perfect follow-up to my most recent blog post, Windows Security Fraud Phone Calls.

My piece shared a recent experience with a telephone caller who tried to get me to share personal information because of problems (fraudulent) on my computer. Singletary also shared information about a phone call that she received, and she also quoted many people who also experienced fraudulent scams or even fell for them.

Whether you are an aging parent or an adult child, this is an important column, because in addition to sharing her experience with a similar scammer’s phone call, Singletary also provides information about the AARP’s  Fraud Watch Network, a developing site at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), that enables people to check out and ask questions about potential scams.

Continue reading

Watch Out for Unexpected Recurring Charges on a Parent’s Credit Card

Over dinner at my parents’ house recently my mother commented that a recurring charge appeared on her Mastercard statement every month for at least a year.

Read this Seattle Times March 2012 Article

Read this Seattle Times March 2012 article.

“I have no idea what it is,” she said. She had been checking her bills and was unsure about what to do.

I looked at the bill and sure enough, on the second of the month during all of 2013 mother was charged $9.95. When I did a bit more research, I found that the company charging the fee presents as a savings club, offering discount opportunities.

I’ve listed some of them below.

  • Quarterly grocery rebates
  • 20% savings on grocery gift cards from trusted vendors
  • Pre-paid debit cards for trade-ins
  • Discounts on auto maintenance at a variety of car repair franchises
  • Up to $250 reimbursement on the deductible on your homeowners or renters insurance when an insured loss occurs.

Trouble is, the person who sold my mother this “membership” when she was buying a blouse at a well-known mid-range national department store, did so without telling my mother what she was really purchasing. My mother thought she was getting a $10 discount on the sale and on subsequent purchases at the store.                       Continue reading