Published on September 14, 2021

Protect yourself from scams

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

I thought I was feeling fine and looking adequate as I made my way around town, but I had my view adjusted when I picked up my mail and read a special offer.

It says people in Texas of a certain age aren’t aware that they can qualify for funeral expense benefits, and others could be liable for the balance of my funeral costs.

Although I may be liable, I won’t be available. (If they sue my estate, they might have to take my mother’s green stamp books.)

I feel that we senior citizens are subject to a lot of scare tactics by people desiring to sell us dubious products.

A great benefit that Texas citizens aren’t aware of appears to be term life insurance, the mail says. These firms are gambling that today’s 50-year-old will make it to 85, and then either the insurance terminates, or rates escalate.

Sadly, (I jest), they didn’t mention my car’s extended warranty.

I think, although I haven’t researched it, telephone solicitors hope to catch seniors that live alone when they make their pitch.

Threatening some sort of IRS or Social Security action that will affect benefits to someone lacking a support network is intimidating to the vulnerable.

With no one to watch over or question their financial matters, they can be taken for all their money.

The top 10 scams involve healthcare, counterfeit prescription drugs, funeral and cemetery scams, anti-aging products, telemarketing, internet fraud, investment schemes, sweepstakes and lottery scams, the grandparent and reverse mortgage scams.

While many of my peers are not familiar with terms describing these scams - telemarketing, phishing and pyramid investment schemes - they are perhaps familiar with the end-product of these schemes. It’s called Elder Fraud.
“Hi grandma, do you know who this is?” is a question best left unanswered.

Once you give a name, the scammer is off and running with all sorts of explanations of why they need your money.
Let callers identify themselves. Don’t let callers trick you into revealing information.

Hang up if you’re not certain if it’s a scam or not. Give a rational reason/excuse for terminating the conversation, and legitimate callers will call again.

It’s been a while since I heard from a lady in Nigeria, the widow with a terminal illness who claimed she needed my assistance to gain access to her late husband’s assets. Then there was the finder of money that just needs me to put up a cash fee to show my honesty before he can liberate funds to share with me.

I haven’t won the lottery either, but I check those results.

I want you to be safe from the scammers and to be vigilant of your personal information, and like myself, be cautious of things that appear too good to be true. They usually are just that.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at eforbes1946@gmail.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)