In this issue of Saints Are Us I want to give you an alert about Con Artists, Snake Oil Salesmen, and Cheats. All operate for the same reason: to get what you have. These lowlife types play on your feelings of loneliness and vulnerability.
You know how it sometimes works, trying to have your supper and you get “the call.” I tell them to give me your phone number, tell me what time you are having supper, and I’ll call you! You always know (by your gut feeling) it is a scam—when they ask for Mr. Ryan I say he is dead, the same for Mrs. Ryan (both my parents died in 1965).
To be serious about this important issue I am attaching an entry from the website WashingtonLawHelp.org:
Senior Fraud — authored by: Washington State Attorney General
Consumers lose billions of dollars each year to fraud. People over age 50 are especially vulnerable and account for over half of all victims, according to a study conducted by AARP. People who commit these types of crimes, con criminals often target older people knowing they have spent a lifetime earning their savings. Con criminals go wherever they can to find money to steal. They use everyday tools—the mailbox, the telephone, the internet, to reach into your pocket.
Don’t be mislead, “he (or she) did not sound like a foreigner, sounded like some one from our town, who could be trusted,”—don’t fall for it. NEVER give you personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet. Have someone you trust review things with you before you make any kind of move. This is not a sign of weakness; actually it is a sign of strength and good decision making.
Have people you know and trust to talk with. No matter how alone you feel, no stranger on the telephone will change that, and you may lose the security you have for your senior years. If you have experienced a recent death in your family, remember obituaries can be used as hunting grounds to scam survivors as well as to break into homes while people are at funerals or memorials! We live in a world that is populated by fallen people; always be cautious.
When you go to the bank or credit union, know who the manager is, get to know a teller by first name, and be sure to be recognized when you walk in. This is IMPORTANT! Know the Customer Service people in places you normally do business, or the management staff; be recognized and be sure to greet people when you arrive. All of this takes less time than you think.
- on the internet go to AARP.org and search for Fraud Watch Network.
- Search the State of Washington Attorney General website for Fraud Reports, www.atg.wa.gov. Look for the headings “credit and debit card scams”; “don’t be a victim of loan fraud—protect yourself from predatory lendors”; among other services offered by Attorney General’s Office.
REMEMBER: If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true!
If you would like to have a workshop put together for St. Dunstan’s about this topic, let me know. I would be happy to gather the resources and bring in a speaker to address this danger.
See you next week –
bro. John, O.C.P.