My 92-year-old mother-in-law Alice sometimes hears friends talking about various scams targeting the elderly. Any senior citizen community like the one Alice lives in in Southern California is probably on the thief list. Unfortunately, some of his friends have fallen for the scams and when they do, the word spreads. First, it was the “I need help, grandma” phone scam, in which the thief pretends to be a grandchild and asks the elderly to wire money. . A friend of his got drawn into this one and sent money. Now he’s a new and bad guy.
The thieves get someone to call the elder to make sure she is home. They say they are with Express Couriers and want to deliver a package within the hour. An hour later, a uniformed “delivery man” shows up at the door with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. The elder wants to know who the sender is. The scammer says the gift card is sent separately. Now for the trap.
The delivery man says that since the gift contained alcohol, there is a “delivery charge” of $ 3.50 as proof that he actually delivered the package to an adult and did not. didn’t just leave on the doorstep. Does that make sense to you? The victims thought so. When the victim offers to pay in cash, the delivery man says he can only accept a credit or debit card so everything is properly accounted for. The delivery man then pulls out a small portable credit card scanner and the victim slides the card into the machine. The scammer then asks the victim to enter the PIN and security number of the card. The victim receives a nice little “receipt” for the transaction, printed from the scanner. The scanner recorded all the information needed to steal the credit card information and create a dummy card, which thieves use immediately, before the victim finds out about the theft. The victim who exposed this scam and spread the word was scammed to the tune of $ 4000 within 3 days. There have been withdrawals from many ATMs. It could have been a lot worse.
If you have a senior in your family, please alert them to this theft scam. It is not just about elder abuse of our aging parents. Anyone can fall for the trap. Also alert your other friends and family. Flowers and wine are a distraction from what is going on. The modest “delivery charges” don’t ring a bell. Or ? Think about what the delivery guy is asking you to do: give him money to give you a “gift.” It should set off an alarm bell in your head immediately. The SHIPPER would pay the delivery cost if there was indeed a shipper. If you order a package and send it to someone, that person never charges the recipient for the delivery cost. They charge the person who ordered the gift, who still has to pay the shipping and handling costs. (Don’t we all love free shipping?) So here are the takeaways:
1. Do not accept delivery of anything from an unknown source, an unrecognized courier, or an unknown sender. If someone wants to surprise you, they have to do it through the good old US Postal Service or some other known delivery method.
2. Never give your credit card to someone at your door unless YOU have asked them to come and you expect to pay at your door. (Not
a good idea in the first place!)
3. If this sounds strange it probably is, so avoid giving out information to someone you weren’t prepared for in advance. If they call ahead and the call is strange, it can be a trap.
Please pass this on to those you know, especially the family during the holiday season. Scammers are smart and can cheat almost anyone. Parcel delivery is common this time of year and gives thieves an additional opportunity to steal. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Till next time,
AgingParents.com and AgingInvestor.com