We are surrounded by technology, (computers, iPads, smart phones, smart TVs, etc.), so we’ve come to enjoy and trust it. We get lots of email offers, snail mail offers, and finally people approach us with deals that sound good. In general, people naturally trust each other, and most people and systems are trustworthy.
Unfortunately, we also see lots of people being scammed in a variety of ways with growing creativity. Lots of information is available through public records, which can help a scammer sound credible.
Here in our own Credit Union, we see family members trying to rip off their parents’ accounts by impersonating them because they have access to so much of the parents’ information in the home.
We report suspected elder abuse to Adult Protective Services.
Then there are the strangers and vendors who are looking for an easy target. Here are some typical consumer scams:
- Roofing/home repair/pest control companies may overcharge, may not finish a job, or may not have the skills to do the job they bid. Always get more than one bid and use a trusted, well-known company. Get everything in writing.
- Fake companies send fake emails to make extravagant offers or use exaggerated scare tactics. If you get a bill or an offer from a company that is not familiar to you, don’t give them any personal information or money. Even if they say they are from the I.R.S., tell them you will call back. Contact the public I.R.S. phone number and verify the information.
- Fake “survey companies” will call or email and offer money if you take their survey, which will probably involve you giving them your social security number and bank account info. Simply hit delete if it’s by email or hit disconnect if by phone.
- Scammers call grandparents and say that their grandchild is in jail or the hospital and needs money. The grandparents panic and wire funds. Don’t panic! Take the time to call other relatives to verify the situation.
The list goes on and on. Some of the scams are well-worn, but new and innovative ones are being hatched regularly.
Be on the alert when something sounds or “feels funny” to you. We all have a natural defense system in our brains that warns us when something isn’t right, but sometimes we choose to override that feeling because we don’t want to look ignorant, uniformed or uncaring. Remember that if you refuse the scammer, it makes YOU the smart one.
Senior Vice President of Lending
(925) 228-7550 Ext.824