This month we have a special issue for you
on holiday scams. What would you say if
Called on the phone and offered a free
gift, just for allowing them to verify your
credit card number and expiration date?
Showed up at your door on a spring
day and quoted a bargain price on repairing
the roof or sealing the driveway
"because the materials were left over from a
big job in the neighborhood?"
Tried to sell you extra health insurance,
claiming that your present policy and
Medicare will not cover nursing home care?
Here are a few good answers that can
help you avoid crooks. “I have to check with
the Police Department or Better Business
Bureau first.” “No, thank you. I want to think
it over for a few days.” or “I need to talk to
my family and my lawyer before I decide.”
A Guide to the Classics
Two strangers tell you they have found
a large sum of money or other valuables.
They tell you they will split the good fortune
with you if everyone involved puts up "good
faith" money. You turn over your cash, and
you never see your money or the helpful
Shortly after the death of a relative,
someone delivers a leather-bound Bible that
your deceased relative allegedly ordered.
Or you get a bill in the mail for an expensive
item on which you must make the payments.
The Funeral Chaser uses obituary
notices to prey on bereaved families.
Remember, you are not responsible for anyone
else's purchases, and all legitimate
claims will be settled by the estate.
A so-called bank official asks for your
help to catch a dishonest teller. He asks you
to withdraw money from your account and
turn it over to him so he can check the serial
numbers. You do and you get a receipt,
but your cash is gone. No legitimate bank
official would ever ask you to withdraw
Bargains that Aren't Bargains
A "free" inspection uncovers needed
repairs that will cost thousands of dollars.
Or a contractor comes to your home and
offers a special half-price deal on a roof
because he has extra materials from another
job. These are favorite tricks of dishonest
firms or individuals who victimize homeowners.
Always get several estimates for any
major work, and don't allow yourself to be
pressured into accepting a one-day-only
offer. Ask for references and check them out.
Verify that the names, addresses, and phone
numbers provided as references are legitimate.
They could be giving you the phone
number of a friend of theirs.
Get a written contract, and make sure
you understand its provisions.
Never pay for work in advance.
Withhold payment until the job is completed.
Pay by check, not cash.
Trust your GUT FEELINGS
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is not true. Remember all scams are crimes of opportunity, do not give them the opportunity.