How To Avoid Being Defrauded
Local law enforcement agencies, state attorneys general, the federal Consumer Protection Agency, and groups such as the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PERSONS provide information to senior citizens on how to avoid being defrauded. These organizations advise the following:
- Watch out if a caller promises prizes for buying products such as vitamins, beauty and health aids, or office supplies. These products are sold at outrageously inflated prices, costing a buyer $500 to $2,000 for items with a value of less than $100.
- Never give a caller your credit card number or checking account number.
- Be especially cautious if a caller reaches you when you are feeling lonely. The person may call day after day until you feel that the caller is a friend, not a stranger trying to sell you something.
- If you think a caller is dishonest, hang up the phone. If a caller is trying to cheat you, it is not rude to end the conversation.
- Never act in haste. If a caller is pressuring you to make a quick decision, consult with friends and family or your state or local consumer protection office before taking a financial risk.
- Always remember that if you really win a prize, you will get it absolutely free, with no fee required.
- Beware if you have been cheated by con artists. They sell information to other con artists, who are likely to call.
- Remember, con artists are liars. They will say anything to get your money.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is not true. Be skeptical of offers that promise rewards greatly out of proportion to your investment.