Your vulnerable family members are at constant risk of a scam. Technological advances have made this an even more serious risk. Scammers half a world away have the ability to identify vulnerable victims in our community.
To protect your family, consider the following, offered by Sid Kirchheimer, who writes about consumer issues for AARP.
- If you didn’t enter the contest, you didn’t win. Remembering this will avoid so many problems.
- A lottery or sweepstakes requiring an upfront payment is a scam. According to the BBB, winners of legitimate drawings are never required to pay upfront.
- You have no obligation to pay anything upfront. If scammers can’t trick you into paying fees upfront, they may try to threaten or intimidate you into sending money. Don’t do it.
- If you receive a check with instructions to deposit it and send a portion back, don’t cash the check. This is a scam and you will be responsible to repay the money you deposit.
- If they contact you, never give any personal or financial information. This is true even if they refer you to a website that seems to show they are a legitimate business. It is very easy to set up a sham website.
- If they threaten to send the police if you do not pay, it is a scam.
- If you have been victimized, prepare to be targeted again. Yes, the bad guys share information.
It only takes one weak moment to destroy a lifetime of preparation; and the number of weak moments tends to increase with the frailties of age. Given this, I recommend the following:
- Identify now someone you can contact for support if you are unsure what to do.
- If you are concerned about someone you feel may become a victim, share this information with them now.
- Incorporate into your estate plan now a mechanism to protect your significant assets from moments of weakness.
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.