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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Be Prepared for Scammers

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Everyone is vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation; however, seniors are the most highly susceptible because the desire for companionship is an enticing allure for them. 

Scammers will be more active during this period of Corona Virus, as many people are already in a fearful mode due to the virus and are staying at home. The foreign syndicates will work hard to take you and your pocketbook. Any time that someone calls you and plays on your emotions, they have opened the door for their scam. They must make you feel “fear” that something will go haywire unless you take immediate action. Or they may inform you that you have won a lottery or something of great value, and they only need you to secure it by you paying for something. If they want you to put money on a GREEN card (immediate cash to them), don’t do it.  We all know someone, even sometimes a family member or a caretaker who will steal from you. By leaning on your sympathy for their bad luck, they will scam you.

Most types of financial abuse or fraud are started by a phone call or the internet. Everyone is vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation; however, seniors are highly susceptible due to their desire for companionship, especially if you are single. Men may be victims of the “mail order bride scam,” and women may be exploited by a man that tells them they want a relationship with them. They all have similar warning signals, such as a very attractive photo, posing as a Professional, out of the country for important work, being overly complimentary…then the emergency happens, and they will try to clean you out.  

It is essential to be proactive by having a plan in place to deal with scammers

. The following are actions one should take to avoid the scammers. 

  1. Check the I.R.S. or the Federal Trade Commission’s list of scams. The most important thing is to identify Scams quickly. If something sounds too good to be true or remotely strange, do not take any action. 
  2. Use Your Financial Planner as ‘the Bad Guy’ Get in the habit of saying, “I run everything by my financial planner; I’ll get back to you” before making any financial commitments ” or “My trustee controls all payments.” Have a good excuse ready.
  3. Establish a trusted team of professionals and designees; team members should include your attorney, financial planner, C.P.A., and loved ones who will always have your best interests in mind. They should know one another, be formally authorized to communicate with each other, and should all have copies of any relevant legal documents. Set up protections by establishing checks and balances
  4. Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller or someone you met on the internet.
  5. Create a Revocable Living Trust and assign a co-trustee.
  6. Review beneficiary designations, successor trustee, and financial and medical power of attorney regularly.
  7. Establish powers of attorney and health care proxies.
  8.  Ensure that all checks — or checks over a certain dollar amount require two signatures.
  9. Discuss the tough planning issues head-on and proactively,
  10. Put your financial plan in place before you reach the point of having signs of diminished capacity. Review it regularly with your professional planner or attorney to ensure estate planning documents are in place and current.

Janice Gough is a Financial advisor in Palm Springs. Contact us for a complimentary review atJanice@GoughFinancialSvcs.com or via phone at (760) 2517724 or (650) 200-8291. Sign up for our newsletter at www.GoughFinancialSvcs.com

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