smart spending

Phone scams against the elderly

Con artists love the telephone
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Con artists love the telephone

If you're retired, one of the biggest threats to your wallet could be that smooth voice on the phone.

Reported phone scams were up 7.62 percent in 2010, according to the National Consumers League.

With all age groups, phone scams are growing. And so are consumer complaints. With retirees, scammers give more time and attention. Often, when the family members finally intervene, the retiree has more trust in the new phone friend.

Recently, one crook gamed $25,000 from a retiree in a lottery phone scam, says Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. Even when relatives assured the man the "lottery" was fake, he insisted he'd won -- selling off assets to pay fees "required" to claim his promised millions.

"It was heartbreaking," says Foley.

Criminals also watch the news. They "latch onto what's new and at the top of consumers' minds," says John Breyault, director of the National Consumers League's Fraud Center.

Consequently, top scams these days revolve around health care reform, he says.

Beware these five tricky retiree phone scams.


 

 

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