It seems like the scammers never sleep. As soon as we are aware of the latest scams new ones start. While it is important to keep in mind of old scams and techniques, it is just as important to be aware of the latest scams. Here are eight of the latest scams affect Americans, especially retirees.
Recovery of the first scammed cash
Scammers are able to obtain a list of people who have been scammed in the past and then reach out to those people and claim they can help recover the loss they had in the first scam. The new scammer will tell you that there are small fees that you do need to pay to recover your cash from the first scam. They may ask you to provide them with some personal information or ask you for a check or credit card number.
Safeguard yourself: Hang up on anyone who promises to get your losses from a past scam. DO NOT provide any personal information to acquaintances or strangers who call you.
Notice from the IRS you have already filed your taxes
The tax filing scam has been growing in popularity the last year or so mostly because it is so easy to do. Scammers obtain your identity to make a tax return claim. Even if you do not have money coming back to you, the scammer lies about deductions to concoct a return.
Safeguard yourself: This tax scam just adds to the reasons of why it is so important to keep a watchful eye on your identity. If you feel like you may have been a victim if the IRS scam contact the IRS immediately. One thing to check every year is your credit report to see if there is any unauthorized activity on your account.
The government wants you have a power scooter
The motorized scooters are important tools for many Americans who have trouble getting around. Medicare offers the scooters to people who qualify basically at no cost to the patient. The way the scam works with the power scooter is the scammer gets personalized information from you and then uses your information to scam Medicare for other medical services through another doctor’s office that does back door deals for the scammers. You may never receive the scooter or end up with an unpowered wheelchair.
Safeguard yourself: Do not give any personal information to someone you don’t know or who you cannot verify if they work for who they say they work for.
Solar- energy system scam
Solar-energy is becoming a popular alternative for electricity. While the solar-energy systems are greener for the environment they can cost thousands of dollars. Home improvement companies take advantage of this by offering the solar-energy system and never hook it up or hook up a fake system.
Safeguard yourself: Before letting any company install the system, have an energy audit don’t on your home. Have at least three companies evaluate your home to see if the system even makes sense for you. In addition to always remember with deposits for work done on your home, only put a deposit done of $1,000 or 10 percent of the project.
You just won a gift card
While this scam has been around for quite some time, new techniques have been incorporated. For example, the free gift card will be given once you complete a survey. The survey will ask you a variety of questions and once you finish all you have to do is submit your personal information. It usually is just your email. Once you submit that it will ask again for another round of questions to answer for more gift cards. Many times celebrity endorsements are also include in the promotion which is never authentic. It will then ask for more information in hopes that you will supply more and more personal information as you complete each survey.
Safeguard yourself: Survey questions for a gift card online are rarely ever real. Unless the survey was given to you from a recent purchase or included in a security protected email the survey for the gift card is likely a hoax.
Cut your credit card interest rate
While there are many ways you can call your credit card company and ask for an interest rate drop, they will never call you to drop your interest rate. If you do receive the call the scammer will tell you they can save you hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars of year on your interest charges. All you have to do is pay an up-front cost of a few hundred dollars and you will have a longer interest rate for as long as you have the card. The scammer gets the money from you and many also obtain the credit card number and other personal information.
Safeguard yourself: If anyone calls you informing you that they can easily lower your interest rate hang up. Register your contact information on donotcall.gov to help limit the amount of unsolicited telemarketer phone calls.
Seminar investment scams
There are many investment seminars that provide useful financial knowledge. The most popular scam with investment seminars is the seminar speaker will try and convince people to invest in a product like in an unregistered oil or gas company that has the potential to make thousands of dollars. The problem is the company does not exist and the speaker takes investment funds. You will never see a return on your investment or your original investment again.
Safeguard yourself: If you do happen to go to a seminar for investments do not provide any personal information to anyone. DO NOT give any payment for the seminar by check or by credit card.
While there are many great websites that provide a coupon for service or an item at a discounted price, there are many fake coupon companies that offer the same service but are really nothing but a scam. How the scam works is you may have to provide some personal information to receive the coupon. The scammer then emails the coupon to you. Many times the coupons are counterfeit and now the scammer has your personal email, which could be your credit card information and your email address.
Safeguard yourself: Remember to not give any personal information to anyone you cannot verify who they are. If something sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
Remember if you feel like you have been a victim of a scam or scammer report it immediately. The more information you are able to provide the authorities the more likely the will be able to catch the scammers. But chances are the scammer has taken the steps to cover their tracks.
Keep in mind this is just the latest list of scams. There are many other scams affecting Americans today, especially retirees and seniors. Another thing to keep in mind is to remember the tips to avoiding financial fraud.
Kristen Curzytek is a writer for the One Reverse Mortgage blog. One Reverse Mortgage is the largest retail reverse mortgage lender in America. Check out our reverse mortgage calculator to see how much tax-free* cash you can qualify for. Or give us a call at (800)401-8114.
*Please consult with your financial advisor.