It would be nice to think that the older we get, the smarter we get. In some ways we do. But the sad truth is that more and more seniors are the victims of con games. Even the smartest among us can be tricked by these pros, if we don't pay attention and listen carefully.
Thanks to the Cleveland Police Department, Bureau of Community Policing, here's an idea of some of the scams used by unscrupulous people. Even more important is the information on how to avoid them.
THE SCAM - Bank Examiner's Scam
There are many versions of this con game, but the basic premise is the same.
A person passing as a bank or law enforcement official will ask a victim to make a withdrawal from a bank account in order to detect wrongdoings at the bank or to catch a criminal.
Most often, the culprit makes telephone contact at home. After identifying himself as the bank examiner or law enforcement officer who is investigating a dishonest employee at your bank, he requests the victim to make a cash withdrawal and to meet him/her at a predetermined location.
A variation of this scheme occurs when a cashier's check is provided for deposit before the withdrawal is made.
HOW TO AVOID
SPECIAL NOTE - UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL BANK OFFICIALS, THE POLICE OR THE FBI REQUEST YOU TO WITHDRAW FUNDS.
- Do not discuss finances with strangers
- Do not withdraw money on the advice of strangers
- Immediately report to the police or your bank's security department anyone telephoning and claiming he is a bank examiner.
THE SCAM - The Pigeon Drop Scam
Two culprits are involved. One will approach a victim, usually in a public area such as a shopping center, and strike up a friendly conversation. The second will approach telling of a large sum of money or valuables that were found.
The victim, the "new friend" and the "finder" agree that the money or valuables will be split, but only after all three put up money as a sign of good faith.
Of course, once this is done, the money, the good faith and the "new friends" will rapidly disappear.
HOW TO AVOID
Do not turn any money over to strangers for any reason
This scam only works if we expect to get something for nothing. Greed can blind us.
It is also important to consider what to do when you discover you have been a victim of a scam. Do not let embarrassment keep you from reporting a scam once it's been committed. Not speaking up and notifying the police will allow these culprits to prey on another victim.
The quicker you can contact a law enforcement agent, or bank official, the better the chances of them being caught and stopped.