Continuing with the past few months discussions on scams, some of what I’ll talk about is fairly old stuff but scammers still make money off of victims. Some are brand new such as the Dying Relative Scam.
Dying Relative Scam
This is a new and different twist on the death threat scam. It starts out with the scammer doing a little research online and finding out the names of your close relatives. They then call you using a number that caller ID will show as being very close to your own so that you think it’s local. They then proceed to tell you that they came upon a car accident and that your relative was involved and is seriously hurt. Further, they claim they found your name and number in the relative’s pocket and after telling you that they already called 911, that your relative will bleed to death before the first responders arrive. Now for the clincher, they further tell you that if you don’t give them money they will let your relative die. They then collect your bank name, account numbers social security number etc.
This scam is not as farfetched as it may seem. According to the Better Business Bureaus’ Scam Tracker, this scam and variations on it have sharply increased since the beginning of the year.
Home Improvement Scams
Another common scam that has been around a while is one that centers around home improvement.
As the weather warms up, homeowners often look to improve their homes. Some scammers go door to door, offering to do improvement projects at very low prices. They then take a deposit and never complete the work. They also will claim that they just completed a job in the neighborhood and have materials and supplies left over from it. They then offer to do the work for far less than what a legitimate contractor would do it for, once again taking a deposit and never doing the work. These scams also happen after major disasters-such as hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, mud slides and fires, among other things.
Jury Duty Scams
Another new spoofing phone call scam has popped up and has scammers posing as judicial officials or police calling people to let them know they failed to report for jury duty and owe a fine. As mentioned earlier, scammers can spoof law enforcement phone numbers or names so that people receiving the call may think that the call is legitimate.
Medicare Card Scam
AARP has run several ads in the national media regarding the Medicare card scam, so luckily the word is getting out. The federal government has recently mailed out new Medicare cards that now have an 11 digit identification number instead of a Social Security number to help protect seniors from identity theft. According to the Wall Street Journal, approximately 59 million people have received the new cards with a requirement from Congress that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services remove Social Security number from Medicare cards by 2019. Further, according to the Wall Street Journal, scammers are taking to the phones to try to trick seniors into giving the their new identification number so they can take over their identity and the loss to the victims averaged $36,000.
This popular service has been the target of an email phishing scam featuring the subject line ‘payment declined’ which usually gets the attention of the subscriber. The email then wants you to click on a link to update your credit card information. If you see this, don’t click on the link because it could be malware. Visit your Netflix account by typing the address in yourself to check your account status.
There are plenty more scams out there that I will cover in future articles. But it begs the question, where does Rudy find out about all these scams? Actually, one of my major sources is my cousin Douglas who recently retired from the FBI as one of their deputy directors. After over 30 years in law enforcement, he has pretty much seen it all.
So, I’ll leave you this month with information on yet another scam that I found out about through personal experience. It’s what I call the stereo scam.
Several years ago when I was picking my wife up from work I was approached by a man in the parking lot. He proceeded to tell me that he worked for a stereo shipping company and was processing a shipment when he discovered that the manufacturer had one extra box of equipment that was not accounted for in the manifest. He showed me the manifest and the box of stereo equipment in the back of his truck. The tightly wrapped box had all the markings of a very high-end sound system. He then offered it to me at a rock bottom price, but cash only. When I asked to inspect the equipment, he said he couldn’t break the seals on the box as it would void the warranty. It was then that I smelled a rat. I toyed with him for a few minutes until my wife came out of her office building and asked what I was doing. She quickly caught on to what he was doing and told him to get lost. After a tense exchange he did. About a week later there was a news story on television where a ring of scammers were caught selling boxes of bricks and passing them off as high end sound systems.
So always be careful of who you are dealing with.
If you have any questions about this article or if I can be of assistance to you with your investment portfolio please feel free to call me at 480-296-9556.
Financial Advisor, RJFS
4111 E. Valley Auto Dr. #104
Mesa, Arizona 85206
Purity Wealth Advisors is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc.
Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members. The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Rudy Eidenbock and not necessarily those of Raymond James.
Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment.