Last week, we discussed the most common types of scams perpetrated on Western Kansas seniors. To read more, you can visit: http://www.dclawfirm.net/blog--news/why-are-retirees-easy-targets-for-con-artists-part-one. Today, we begin Part two (2) in our four (4) part series on financial scams and learn what you can do to protect yourself from a telemarketing trap.
How Can I Identify a Telemarketing Scam and What Should I Do?
These are some of the most common tactics used to commit fraud by telephone:
Urgency or Mania: A fraudulent telemarketer will scream and shout about how excited they are that you have won a prize or say something similar to, “You are the grand prizewinner, but if you don’t accept your reward immediately (and pay a “handling charge”) the runner-up will win instead.”
Authority: The telemarketer puts his “boss” on the phone, so you will know the offer is “legitimate.” The “boss” is another accomplice in the scam.
Fear of Missing Out: The prize you have won is so good, you think you can’t pass up this deal of a lifetime. This is an especially dangerous tactic tempting lower-income level seniors who already are struggling to make ends meets.
Reciprocity/Pity: The caller explains that he or she won’t get paid unless you accept the prize and pay the "handling fee". If you protest that you can’t afford the fee, the scammer asks how much you can afford, and says he or she will make a special exception for you and accept the lower amount.
Forgetfulness/Charitable Giving: The caller identifies themselves as a representative of a well-known charity and explains that you’ve forgotten to submit the pledge that you previously agreed to provide or gives you the name of a fake charity that is seeking donations. The criminal is relying on your generous spirit to gain access to your money. These type of schemes tend to appear more frequently after natural disasters, particularly those with heightened media coverage.
Fake Illness: Relying on family loyalty to pull heartstrings, the fraudster tells the aging victim that his or her loved one has suffered a serious accident or illness and is in the hospital needing money for immediate treatment. The victim then wires or sends money to the imposter due to the urgency of the alleged situation.
Look What I Found: The target is told that the con artist has found a large sum of money but needs someone to help them collect on it. The fraudulent individual says they are willing to split the amount if the senior will make a “good faith” payment by withdrawing funds from their bank account. Often, a second imposter is involved, posing as a banker, lawyer, or other “trustworthy individual” who can “verify” the legitimacy of the request.
Your Response to all of the Above Should Be: Request that they send you information about what they are offering, asking for the offer in writing, or tell them that you need to consult with a trusted friend or family member first to verify that what they are saying is true. If the caller won't agree to send you information in writing or pressures you to make an immediate decision, HANG UP THE PHONE! Do NOT, under any of the above circumstances, give out personal or financial information, such as your legal name, social security number, bank account or credit card number (even a partial number), etc. over the phone. This information can later be used to open credit card accounts or to create false identities. If the caller is uncooperative with you, you should ask the caller to remove you from their call list, then block the caller’s number. You may want to report the call to the police if you feel harassed or threatened.
Be sure to add your telephone number to the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent unwanted telemarketing calls at: https://www.donotcall.gov. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau to research the soliciting company at https://www.bbb.org, or visit the National Consumers League site, https://www.fraud.org to receive fraud alerts and file complaints.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, seniors age 60 and over are targeted most frequently for telemarketing scams involving medical care services and products, sweepstakes and prizes, and magazine sales. The Council estimates that each victim of a sweepstakes scheme lost an average of $7,000. Exercise good judgment and ask for help from a trusted person to prevent yourself from joining these numbers.
Next week we’ll discuss internet scams and what precautions you and your loved ones can take to avoid becoming a victim of internet fraud.
If you have additional questions, contact Davis & McCann, P. A., Dodge City, KS. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on estate planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate Transactions, and related matters.
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Davis & McCann, P. A.,