CRIME PREVENTION TIPS ESPECIALLY FOR SENIORS
It's sometimes hard to tell if a sales pitch is legitimate or fraudulent. You
can't judge it by the tone of someone's voice, or how friendly or sincere the
person seems. Good salespeople are convincing, and so are crooks. But it's probably
a scam if:
- You get a call or postcard from someone telling you you've won a prize and
asking for payment to buy something, for processing or administrative fees,
for customs, for taxes, or any other reason. Legitimate sweepstakes or prize
offers don't ask for payment because it's illegal.
- The person says you have to take the offer immediately or you'll miss the
opportunity. Legitimate companies don't pressure people to act without time
to look into the deal.
- The caller refuses to send you written information before you commit to
anything. Legitimate companies are always glad to send information about what
- The caller claims that you can make huge profits in an investment with no
risk. All investments are risky and legitimate companies must tell consumers
about the possible risks involved.
- The caller claims that you can make huge profits through a franchise or
other business opportunity with little or no effort. All business ventures
require knowledge and effort on the part of buyers, and no legitimate companies
would guaranty profits.
- The caller is asking for a donation but won't tell you exactly how the money
will be used and how you can verify the charity and what it does. Legitimate
charities are willing to say what percentage of contributions is used for
services and how much goes to overhead and fundraising. They are also willing
to tell consumers who they can check with to confirm that they are legitimate.
- The caller insists that you send your payment by a private courier or wire
money. Legitimate companies don't try to keep people from checking the deal
out and changing their minds, or try to evade the postal authorities, by demanding
immediate payment by courier or wire.
- The company asks for cash. Legitimate companies don't ask for cash, but
con artists do because they often have trouble getting merchant approval from
the credit card companies, and they also want to be hard to trace.
- The caller asks for your social security number. Legitimate companies don't
ask for that unless you are applying for credit and they need to check your
- The caller asks for your credit card number, bank account number, or other
financial information when you aren't buying anything or paying with those
accounts. Legitimate companies only ask for financial information to bill
you or debit your account for purchases you've agreed to make.
- The company calls you relentlessly or after you've asked not to be called
anymore. Legitimate companies will take "no" for an answer and will
take you off their calling lists if you ask. Con artists will keep on calling
to wear you down or get more money from you.
- The company offers to get you a loan, or credit, or a credit card, or to
"repair" your bad credit if you pay an up-front fee. Legitimate
lenders and credit card issuers do not demand payment in advance, and no one
can get bad information removed from a credit file if it is accurate.
- The company offers to get back money that you have lost to another fraudulent
scheme if you pay an up-front fee. Law enforcement agencies don't ask for
payment to try to help consumers get their money back, and it's illegal for
a company to ask for advance payment for such services.
Remember, giving money to a fraudulent telemarketer usually means losing it
Don't let a criminal break into your home through your telephone line!