Scam of the day – September 1, 2017 – Texas passes legislation to protect seniors from financial exploitation

Financial exploitation of the elderly is a significant problem in the United States today.  Recognizing this problem in 2016, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) passed a model act entitled “An Act to Protect Vulnerable Adults From Financial Exploitation” which in varying forms was enacted into law by four states in 2016 and more in 2017 with Texas becoming the latest state to pass such a law.  The Texas version of the law became effective today.

The law requires various financial professionals such as brokers and in some instances, bankers to report suspicions of elder financial exploitation coupled with the authority to temporarily delay disbursements of funds while the suspicions are investigated.  The states passing these laws are taking important steps to protect their elderly citizens from becoming victims of scams, such as mystery shopper scams and phony lottery scams.

TIPS

Seniors have long been a favorite target of scammers both because they have money and are often more trusting of scammers which makes them more vulnerable.  In fact, recent studies have shown there is a part of our brain that controls skepticism that becomes less viable as we age thereby making the elderly more susceptible to scams.

If your state is not one of the states that has passed or is considering this model legislation, I urge you to contact your state legislators to pass this law.

Scam of the day – March 29, 2013 – Spamhaus cyberattack – what it means to you

Many of us are unfamiliar with the company “Spamhaus,” but the chances are good that you are among the many people served by them.  Spamhaus is a web hosting company that targets spam emails, such as emails for phony weight-loss pills, fake Viagra and phony lottery scams.  Spamhaus uses its vast databases and spam detecting software to identify and then stop spam from reaching people’s computers.  The company serves a good purpose.  However, recently it has been shut down through a Denial-of-Service attack which occurs when someone is able to flood a company’s computers with traffic that essentially renders the company’s computers inoperable.    It was this type of a computer attack that was used  to temporarlily shut down the computers of a number of American banks last year.  It is not sure who actually is behind the attack on Spamhaus.  Some have said that Eastern European criminals are the source of the attacks, while others have said that it was done by people who were upset at what they believe is Spamhaus’ censorship of access to the Internet.

TIPS

Regardless of the source of the attack on Spamhaus, the result to individuals is the same.  We will be receiving more spam directly into our email boxes, which means that you will have to be extra vigilant in evaluating the legitimacy of any emails that you receive.  There will be more scams and identity theft emails than before as fewer are removed by Spamhaus.  Even when Spamhaus and similar companies are back operating at full strength, it is still important to remember to always be skeptical about the emails that you receive.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Be particularly wary of emails that ask you to click on links that can download malware that can steal the information from your computer and make you a victim of identity theft.  Also be wary of emails that ask you to provide personal information that also can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Finally, be a savvy consumer and consider any email with a solicitation for a product that sounds too good to be true as just that – not true.