In today's complex society, we make choices every day about spending our money to buy things and support causes; hopefully, most of these decisions make us feel good. It is important that we feel in control of our own finances.
Unfortunately, there are some bad actors out there who would love to take your money and give you nothing in return. These people reach out to you through your telephone, by mail or coming to your door.
If you are a senior, you are a special target for these con artists. People over the age of 50 represent about 56% of all scam victims. Con artists know that most seniors grew up in an era when business was conducted with a handshake. A person's word meant everything. “Minnesota nice” is an attribute that con artists count on. Minnesotans are a polite bunch and con artists know that most likely you will listen to their pitch.
Seniors who have been scammed are often devastated financially. Most seniors live on fixed incomes and some depend solely on Social Security. When limited incomes are stolen through scams, it can be nearly impossible for seniors to recover financially.
Information is your weapon. Make sure you read this checklist to protect yourself from scams:
- Never pay for products or services ahead of time unless you are sure the company is reputable.
- Read everything in a contract before you sign it. Don't sign anything you feel nervous about or don't understand. Consult a trusted friend, relative or your lawyer before you sign anything legally binding.
- Resist pressure from scam artists to sign anything or give an answer right away.
- Beware of overly friendly strangers. Scam artists know that they can victimize you easier if they befriend you first.
- Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and you know to whom you are talking.
- Keep the Scam Prevention Worksheet by the telephone to help you determine if telemarketing calls are legitimate.
- Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry online or by calling 1.800.921.4110.
Protect Your Social Security Check
Help protect yourself against identity theft and financial fraud by switching to direct deposit for your Social Security benefits. Direct deposit eliminates the risk of stolen checks. It is easier and more convenient than paper checks, because your benefit goes straight into your account, on time, every time. Sign up for Go Direct or call 800. 333.1795.