2014: Watch out for sweethearts and pigeon drops
Ted Hubert

A n American Association or Retired Persons (AARP) study found that the older Americans are targeted for scams because they are more trusting.

There are other characteristics that attract these criminals. Lonely people appreciate attention from others.

The elderly may be confused and not able to handle the family finances and those who recently lost a spouse are most vulnerable.

A con artist and your best friend will use the same words Your conversations would be very similar.

Looks don’t help either. These crooks may worship with you or be a co-worker. A con artist may be a stranger or a family member.

However there is a common denominator. Scammers want to trick their victims into giving away their hard earned money.

Recently the Dr. Phil show featured a victim who fell in love with a picture and messages from her email and sent an impostor $50,000 cash in a cereal box.

The con artist injured his hand, (he told her) and needed funds for hospital care. The man in the picture was found. He wasn’t the con artist but his picture had been used to scam the lonely woman.

Pictures were shown of an injured hand but the hand and the face of the injured man were not in the same picture.

The bottom line is that crooks look and act like normal folks. People that are liked and trusted the most can take greater advantage on the situation. Some will always do good while others will take the evil route for personal gain.

Did you make any new year’s resolutions to protect yourself from falling victim to some scheme which allows some con artist to separate you from your money?

It is not too late. Milam County TRIAD will grant you permission to correct this oversight. Just make reasonable vows that you can keep. Many resolutions made on the first of January have been broken in the first week.

In 2014 watch for telemarketing or mail fraud. AARP reports that this scam takes in some $40 billion dollars per year and 80% comes from victims 50 years of age or older.

The sweetheart scam which was mentioned previously is high on the list. Never send money to people you have never met.

The person of your dreams is better found in your town and not through some pictures and email. This is not to say that some have not found lifetime partners over the Internet. Just take caution as you normally would.

Charging excessive amounts of money because some smooth talking con artist convinces you of a once in a lifetime opportunity.

They keep some high dollar risks hidden until a commitment is made.

People may pedal some bogus items very reasonable. Do not buy a rock in a box. Neither should you fall for some get rich quick opportunity. Seniors have lost their homes and other properties seeking fortunes.

This year expect some scammer to offer deals using fraudulent legal documents. Seniors are high pressured into signing documents giving over a power of attorney or other documents giving crooks access to the victim’s property.

The pigeon drop is still very effective. This is a team effort to scam an older person. These con artists claim to find a large sum of money and they do not know how to handle it.

A call is made and the third party explains that the money is from some gambler or drug dealer, so it is agreed that the money will be split three ways. However the victim must put up some good faith money and collect his share from the third party later.

The money is given. The con artists disappear and the promised share is never seen.

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2014-01-09 digital edition

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