Most scams fall into nine categories
Ted Hubert
Most scams will spinoff one of the nine categories— Nigerian Fraud, Ponzi schemes, telemarketing fraud, pigeon drops, caregiver fraud, mail fraud (including email scams), lottery schemes, donation fraud, and Identity fraud.

Each allows those with criminal minds to use variations of the same fraud. Four of these variations are need, greed, emotion and trust.

A scammer knows the elderly are vulnerable because they are usually on a fixed income with medical expenses.

Senior citizens are also trusting people that are polite rather than rude. Many older citizens are lonely and seek attention, and on the flip side, may overreact to acts of kindness. As one ages, one does not think as clearly as they once did. Eyesight and hearing are not as keen as they used to be.

It is important to plan for the future and realize that life is a bell curve. Life starts with a person being totally dependent on someone to give care and if one is fortunate to live long enough that independence once enjoyed as young adults will wane away to major dependency on others to provide life’s needs.

The greed aspect kicks in when an opportunity to gain something for nothing arrives. This provides chances to upgrade the individual’s security. A windfall to provide easy street to your home is difficult to turn down.

Why not take the chance to spend a little for a fortune? You need to think, is this worth the gamble? Remember, if it is too good to be true, then it is probably a scam.

A con artist is a good story teller. These stories play on your emotions. The more the story pulls at your heartstrings, the more successful the scam. These tales include pleas for help because a loved one was in an automobile accident and is in a hospital in a foreign country or even worse is in jail and needs funds to get out of jail and gas money to get home.

Stories about an unknown relative died and left a fortune. Maybe the request for money comes through a con artist explaining a child’s terminal illness. Limited funds will not allow him/her to realize a final request.

The material used in stories is endless. You can just imagine tales that can be told of hardships from hurricanes, or f loods, or some challenge to our troops.

Americans are very patriotic, which is good, but watch out for issues that make you mad enough to fight. A con artist may use your religion to pull at your emotions also. The love for friends and family members can be used against you. Check the story out before you act and certainly before you wire money anywhere.

Trust must be earned nowadays, but in the youth of today’s elderly, tr ust was automatic unless someone proved they were untrustworthy. Times have changed, haven’t they?

Now we are told to ask someone to prove they are who they say. Today we are instructed to slam doors in the faces of strangers, to hang up on callers, because we need to protect ourselves from criminal elements that hide behind smiles, eyes showing kindness, and words we like to hear.

It is truly a dilemma when your greatest strength is trusting people and your greatest weakness is the same thing.

As said in the boxing ring: “protect yourself at all times.” Fraud could knock at your door next. Would you know a scam, if you saw one?

Would you be too embarrassed to report to someone that you have fallen into a trap and have been victimized? Report it. Fight back.

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2010-09-02 digital edition

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