(208) 523-4433 info@wrightlawidaho.com

Like me, you have no doubt read a consistent stream of stories about seniors who have been victimized by scams. According to ABC news, the Federal Trade Commission (the federal agency charged with consumer protection) reports that complaints of “imposter” scams have now surpassed identify theft in prevalence.

Recently, I received a call from a widowed friend and client upset over a call she received from someone claiming to be an officer investigating a theft. It was a scam. She was obviously upset that she was the target of a scam; but even more upset with herself because she started to give them private personal information. Fortunately, she caught herself and ended the call before any damage could be done.

I have previously warned of one type of imposter scam, commonly called the “grandparent scam.”  According to the FBI, a scammer will obtain a few details about the grandparent and/or a grandchild, perhaps from social media, and then call the grandparent claiming to be a distressed grandchild in need.

Most of us laugh because the scam seems so obvious. Yet, it remains incredibly successful.

As concerning as this scam is, I am also concerned about another imposter scam that is growing in frequency. This scam involves a caller claiming to be a government representative, perhaps an IRS agent or even a police officer. The caller is aggressive, demanding money rather than asking for it. Callers are told authorities are on their way to arrest them if they do not pay immediately.

I have received several calls from distraught clients telling me about the call and asking if they should just pay. The answer is absolutely not! As I have explained in previous columns, this will only open the door to more demands, threats, and intimidation. The government does not use such methods to obtain payments. Even if money is legitimately due, you will have the opportunity to confirm the amount and the reason money is owed.

Even though she was fooled for an instant, I credit my friend for acting on her instincts to avoid victimization by these insidious scammers. Be vigilant when any stranger asks for personal information, and help those in your life who may be vulnerable to be vigilant as well.

Come to a free, no obligation presentation to find out how your vulnerable loved ones can be protected from predators and other simple solutions to protect your estate.