Prepar­ing for the Next Scam

Every night we watch the news; there is a new vic­tim of a con artist’s games. How do we equip our­selves with the tools to avoid falling vic­tim to a scam? The adage “if it sounds too good to be true…it prob­a­bly is” is a good start. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we must ver­i­fy offers as best we can before com­mit­ting to a ven­dor. Here are some scams to be aware of and some tips to pre­vent falling vic­tim to them.

The Home Repair Person

A com­mon tac­tic is to offer a “free” inspec­tion. Then the per­son advis­es sig­nif­i­cant repair work that alleged­ly requires cash in advance. In cas­es like this, it’s essen­tial to pro­ceed with extreme cau­tion. Nev­er be con­vinced to give some mon­ey in advance. Always take the time to ask and check ref­er­ences. Obtain a writ­ten esti­mate, a con­tract of the work to be com­plet­ed, and a com­ple­tion date. You can check with cre­den­tials with 3rd par­ty agen­cies like the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau or Min­istry of Con­sumer Affairs. Get­ting mul­ti­ple quotes is an excel­lent way to inform your­self about the task. Remem­ber, the best price is often not the best val­ue.

The Service Person

This per­son often tries to enter a home on the premise of try­ing to check your phone line or gas line etc. Be very care­ful about open­ing your door to strangers and con artists, and we advise nev­er let­ting a stranger into your home for an appoint­ment you did not ini­ti­ate. Most legit­i­mate com­pa­nies will call ahead to make appoint­ments and pro­vide the prop­er call­back infor­ma­tion and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Telephone Fraud

The caller will por­tray them­selves as a Police Offi­cer and ask you for a dona­tion or to assist in catch­ing a crim­i­nal by with­draw­ing your cash. NO police depart­ment will call you to request this.   Oth­ers call mak­ing an offer too good to refuse, but you must pro­vide mon­ey or a cred­it card num­ber in advance. Nev­er buy sight unseen, unso­licit­ed items or ser­vices over the phone.

The Free Prize / Trip scam

You receive a call or let­ter con­grat­u­lat­ing you for win­ning a boat, car or vaca­tion. You must pro­vide a cred­it card to pay the tax or shipping/admin fee to receive it. Do not fall for this. Legit­i­mate con­tests nev­er require you to pay any mon­ey to claim a prize.

Medical Fraud

Seniors are often the tar­get for alleged “good deals” on health or med­ical items. All the pre­cau­tions apply here; it like­ly is if it sounds too good to be true. Check with a legit­i­mate doc­tor or health care pro­fes­sion­al before enrolling in any offers.

A red flag should go up when­ev­er any­one approach­es us with an unso­licit­ed offer! No mat­ter how entic­ing the offer or pitch may sound, we must always do our due dili­gence to ensure we are not part of the lat­est scam. In the event you have been vic­tim­ized, ask for help. Call the Police or Min­istry of Con­sumer Affairs as soon as pos­si­ble to report the fraud.

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.