Grandparent Scam Income Tax Scam Lottery Scam Home Renovation Scam Romance Scam
1. Somebody knows one of your grandchildren’s names. You get a call saying: hello grandpa (or grandma) this is Joey, I am calling from (a far away place), I am in trouble etc. An appeal for money follows. Very difficult to know for certain it is not your grandchild from the voice alone. Solution: Ask them something you and that grandchild know. 2. You get a threatening call supposedly from the Tax Dept saying in a harsh voice that your dues are in arrears and you need to pay by credit card right now or the police will be sent to arrest you. Solution: Disconnect. IT Depts never call. They communicate by letter only. 3. You get a call saying you have won the Lottery, an XXX large amount but you need to send XX, a smaller amount to be able to clear your winnings. Remember: lottery winnings never require payment. 4. You get a visit telling you they are painters, in the neighbourhood and are doing work on some of your neighbours’ homes. They give a very attractive quote, but require an advance partial payment. Give the money and you’ll never hear of them again. Solution: consider referrals from friends and family only and take down some ID and get them to sign even a few handwritten lines if you absolutely need to advance money. People are lonely these days in a technologically connected and busy world. They have no time for meeting people in person with whom in an earlier age they would have built relationships. So they go to a place available to them; the internet. They come across a very charming and attractive person they can’t help getting attached to. Eventually money enters the equation. Not directly but you yourself making the offer of a loan in a bad circumstance that the trickster says is purely temporary. The amount is small, but is known to grow and end up with hundreds of thousands lost before you wake up to the scam. Things to remember: Don’t think you are clever and it will never happen to you only to someone else. One day you are vulnerable, sick, can’t hear or understand properly or the person on the other line seems honest and personable. That’s all it takes. The person on the other line or knocking on your door are all actors. They excel in projecting a scene that is likely to get you hooked. They do this day in and day out before getting caught, if at all. Take note of the red flags. You are not paranoid and they are there to warn you, coming directly from your gut. Don’t ignore that feeling. We are all animals with a sense of danger unless we choose to suppress it. All scams operate on conveying to you a sense of urgency. This offer will last for 6 hours, or you only give 10 in order to get 100, kind of thing. Run it by your good friend or relative you can trust. That will give you a wider angle view. Once you are scammed, it is very unlikely you will get your money back. Conquer your shame and tell others if you have been scammed. That will prevent them from falling in the same trap. We are humans, we survive by getting each other’s back. A few other tips: Be cautious, ask questions. Advise the caller you will call them back. If in doubt, hang up. Have knowledge of common scams in your area. And finally, the Golden Rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Roland Francis Toronto.