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Don’t get snowed by these Holiday Scams
Caravan News 7341

Don’t get snowed by these Holiday Scams

Scam artists don't take a break during the holidays. Be informed about these seven types of scams.

This month we have a special issue for you on holiday scams. What would you say if someone...

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

Pigeon Drop
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 strangers again.

Funeral Chaser
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.

Bank Examiner
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 your money.

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.

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.

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