Even if you have retired and are making do on your fixed income, be aware that scammers want to take advantage of your situation. They may call you on the phone, send you an email, or a snail mail communication, or work from a website to offer an attractive deal. Furthermore, to prevent increasing your stress and losing your money, it pays to know some of the top scams operating today.
Why Fraudulent Scams Work
Scammers succeed because they offer something you may want or need, such as funds, companionship, or work opportunities. In addition, some scams appeal to the human desire to get something for nothing, others appear more reasonable yet are just as costly.
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Five Schemes To Watch For
Here are some common ways that Internet thieves may try to deceive.
1. Nigerian letter scam.
You receive an email from a Nigerian prince, or his widow or lawyer, who claims you have been left millions of dollars. Alternatively, the person might be trying to get a large number of funds out of the country.
You will get a windfall by simply providing your bank account number, and by sending a small amount of money to cover transaction costs or bribes to local officials. In addition, you will receive in subsequent emails being asked for more money. Rather than getting millions of dollars, you pay considerable fees and get nothing.
2. Lonely hearts scams.
Online dating is popular these days among all age groups. If you don’t get out much, finding a potential mate or companion on the Internet is attractive. Moreover, you might meet someone online that appears to be the perfect match; they even want to get together.
Signs that the situation is a scam include their asking you for money for transportation money, rent, or medical expenses for their sick granddaughter. In these cases, your potential soulmate may not even be who they claim to be.
3. Infected computer scams.
A message pops up and scares you by telling you that your computer is infected with a virus. Fortunately, the message claims, you can fix the problem by clicking the link. $50 later, the message disappears after you have bought a fix to a problem you don’t have. In addition, by clicking the link, you may have installed new spyware in your system.
4. Craigslist or Kijiji scams.
Trying to de-clutter your home? When you use these free sites like Craigslist or Kijiji to sell furniture, appliances, bikes, and other goods online, you may generate quick interest from a foreign buyer.
They promise to send you much more than what you want for the item; upon receiving it, you are to ship the item along with several hundred dollar fees to the shipping company. The check bounces and you’re out both your item and the money you sent for shipping costs.
5. Work at home schemes.
Need extra income? Legitimate virtual work opportunities can be lucrative for retirees, but some opportunities are scams. Furthermore questionable sites request you to buy equipment or pay fees before you receive any work. After you pay, you get nothing in return.
Be Vigilant Against Scammers
The five scams listed here are just the tip of the iceberg of ways that scammers use to try to make off with your money. It pays to be vigilant when someone requests a contribution to a charity, requests money in order to clean funds, or presents you with an offer you find interesting.
To prevent losing your money and your valuable personal information, research whether the authors are legitimate. For a more comprehensive view of scams to watch for, check the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or a website such as Snopes.com.
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Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here