Scam of the day – November 10, 2017 – Veterans’ Day scams

Tomorrow, November 11th is Veterans’ Day, a day we set aside to honor those who have served our country and to whom all Americans owe a debt of gratitude.  However, for scam artists, tomorrow is just another opportunity to take advantage of the best intentions of people and steal their money.  People will be receiving telephone calls that purport to be from various veterans’ organizations or charities seeking donations when, in fact, many of these calls will be from scammers seeking to steal money under false pretenses.

Other scams related to Veterans’ Day will occur when veterans receive telephone calls purporting to be from the Veterans’ Administration asking for personal information necessary to verify or update the information of the VA.  Of course, the call is not from the VA and the request for personal information is merely to gather that type of information in order to make the veteran a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

Even if you are on the federal Do Not Call List, which is a good thing to be on if you wish to avoid telemarketers, you are legally able to be called by charities.  The problem is that whenever you receive a call purporting to be from a charity, you have absolutely no way of knowing if you are being contacted by a legitimate charity.  You also cannot know, without doing some research, whether the particular veterans’ charity that may be contacting you is legitimate or not.   As I often advise you, never give personal information such as credit card information to anyone over the phone if you have not made the call.  If you are considering a gift to a particular charity, first check out the charity with www.charitynavigator.org to make sure that the charity is legitimate and then get the address from charitynavigator.org for the charity, if it is legitimate,  so that if you wish to make a gift, you can make it directly to the charity.

As for calls that you may receive purporting to be from the VA or any other governmental agency requesting information, you should never provide information over the phone to anyone because, as I indicated above, you can never be sure if the caller is who he or she says they are.  In this case, you should contact the particular agency at a telephone number that you know is accurate to confirm whether or not the request for personal information was legitimate or not.  Most of the time, the call will turn out to be a scam.

Scam of the day – August 1, 2016 – Presidential election scams

With the Presidential election in full swing, scammers are busy taking advantage of this fact to scam people and make them victims of identity theft.  One common election scam involves a telephone call you receive purportedly from one of the political parties or one of the candidates’ campaign staff asking for a contribution.  Even if you are on the federal Do-Not-Call List, you can be legally called by politicians seeking campaign contributions so the calls may appear legitimate.  They may also show up on your Caller ID as coming from a political party or candidate’s campaign, but this does not mean that the call is legitimate.  Through a technique called “spoofing,” scammers are able to fool your Caller ID and make it appear that the call’s origin is legitimate when it is not.

Another common election time scam involves a call purportedly from your city or town clerk informing you that you need to re-register or you will be removed from the voting lists.  You are then told that you can re-register over the phone merely by providing some personal information, such as your Social Security number.  The truth is that you will not be called by your city or town clerk and told that you need to re-register and voter registration is not done by phone.

TIPS

In regard to the first scam, you can never be sure when you receive a phone call as to who is really on the other end of the line.  Never give personal information such as your credit card number to anyone who calls you on the phone unless you have absolutely verified that the call is legitimate.  In the case of a campaign contribution solicitation, if you are inclined to donate to a particular candidate or party, the best thing to do is to go directly to the candidate’s or party’s website to make your contribution.

Even though being on the Federal Do-Not-Call List does not prevent charities or political candidates from calling you, it can cut down on annoying telemarketing calls and let you know right away that anyone who calls you in violation of the Do-Not-Call List is not to be trusted.  If you want to get on the Do-Not-Call list, just click on this link.  https://www.donotcall.gov/