Whether we like to admit it or not, we've all been the victim of a financial scam. If you are anything like me [I can't remember the last time I had cash], there is no purchase too insignificant for your credit card. This mode of operation result in lots and lots of airline miles [good] and regular security breaches [bad] which manifest themselves on my credit card in discreet, yet repetitious charges originating from some shopping mall in Newark.
But, with a single text-message that reads: "NO," my bank has already refunded the $76.14 charge from a place called "Giggle" [a boutique children's clothing store], cancelled my card, and mailed, via Next Day Air, a replacement. I hardly feel like I was the victim of financial abuse.
Unfortunately, stolen credit card information is only one of many financial scams, most of which, are designed specifically to target the elderly. Taking steps to protect yourself and family members from "The Crime of the 21st Century," is of the utmost importance - failing to do so would be reckless.
The War on Financial Scams - Where to Start?
FIRST - You need a basic understanding of the types of scams and how they work. Here's my chart of some of the most prevalent scams today:
SECOND - It's important to make sure you know how to differentiate between REAL vs. FAKE communications, just in case the REAL IRS wants to get in touch with you. The goods news is that most of the scam types share similar qualities - the bad news is that you should commit these to memory. To help with this task, here's what to look for
THIRD [AND FINAL] - Now that you know the types of scams currently bombarding our senior community members' inboxes, phone lines, doorsteps, and mailboxes and how to spot them, the final, MOST IMPORTANT step, is to, not just share, but, teach this information to your parents, grandparents, and the senior couple down the street. Make it fun, get interactive, heck, you can even try a few surprise practice runs.
And, if after all of this, you're still thinking that these scams are way too obvious to even bother with, I direct you to this statistic: