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How to avoid getting scammed.....
Old 01-12-2014, 07:04 AM   #1
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How to avoid getting scammed.....

.......or,,,,,what is a good book or knowledge base for educating a young and "very trustful" family member how to recognize and avoid getting scammed by unscrupulous salespeople, scam artists, internet fraudsters, etc. ??

Historical scams included, but may have not been limited to:

1. Getting sucked in to gym memberships without reading the fine print on how to cancel,

2. Allowing merchants to have access to a bank account to periodically withdraw money for payments,

3. Buying "extended warranties" (aka, very expensive insurance) on inexpensive goods that come with the manufacturer's warranty,

4. Allowing merchants to withdraw funds from a credit/debit card for repeated purchases (like the Proactive face cream/treatment "membership"),

5. Letting car repair shops fix "whatever it needs" ,

6. Sending money to charities that send you mailings...,

7. etc.

This female. adult, single, working (and college educated) person needs an education. Bad experiences don't seem to burn into the brain. Seems like she believes (and trusts) everyone she meets in a sales pitch setting. The family is not sure if this should be done in stages (topic at a time) or just a plain intervention with a few of us. I would like to start with a simple to read, factual and hard hitting book.

The way she is managing money is not a path to ER or FI success, although those goals are pretty far away in this case.

Thanks for any input you may contribute.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:34 AM   #2
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While not specifically about scams, frauds, etc. how about a subscription to Consumer Reports? I've subscribed to the print version for 30+ years and it has also served as an awareness-raising about getting value in general. They do have occasional articles on scams and money management.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:51 AM   #3
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I admire the thought on your part. However, I think you are battling the entire American advertising and marketing complex. Furthermore, this trusting nature seems built into a lot of people. And, I don't think people change too much.

If the person in question has done all those things in your list, it will probably take some heavy personal counseling by someone she trusts who could review this list and point out the similarities and the issues.

"A fool and his money are soon parted"
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SteveL View Post
I admire the thought on your part. However, I think you are battling the entire American advertising and marketing complex. Furthermore, this trusting nature seems built into a lot of people. And, I don't think people change too much.

If the person in question has done all those things in your list, it will probably take some heavy personal counseling by someone she trusts who could review this list and point out the similarities and the issues.

"A fool and his money are soon parted"
You hit the nail on the head. It is a big task and it needs to have some progress. She no longer allows merchants access to her bank account after one really bad experience. It's the ongoing awareness of when the light in her head should come on is what's a key.

Many of us older and wiser folks have figured most of it out, but are continually challenged.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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Everything on FTC.gov

Such as:
https://www.ftc.gov/stay-connected

Sign up for FTC scam alerts by email
Scam Alerts | Consumer Information

FTC blog - lots of topics you've mentioned here
Consumer Information Blog | Consumer Information

Free publications
https://bulkorder.ftc.gov/

AND there are lots of topics here:

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/p...emealerts.aspx

Videos here (and recordings)
https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/p...om/videos.aspx

Maybe add Dave Ramsey ("never give merchants access to your bank account"). Send her to Financial Peace University?

Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by spncity View Post
Everything on FTC.gov

Such as:
https://www.ftc.gov/stay-connected

Sign up for FTC scam alerts by email
Scam Alerts | Consumer Information

FTC blog - lots of topics you've mentioned here
Consumer Information Blog | Consumer Information

Free publications
https://bulkorder.ftc.gov/

AND there are lots of topics here:

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/p...emealerts.aspx

Videos here (and recordings)
https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/p...om/videos.aspx

Maybe add Dave Ramsey ("never give merchants access to your bank account"). Send her to Financial Peace University?

Good luck.
Thanks for the links and tip on Dave Ramsey. I forgot he is a good basic source of information, and probably in terms she would understand.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:09 AM   #7
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This is a tough one. Like SteveL says, it is very difficult to change the basic nature of a person, in this case, the trusting nature leads to saying "yes" to whatever the sales pitch/offer may be.

My experience is an individual who is susceptible to scams has to learn to say "no thanks" regardless of how good something sounds. They must learn even though it may be couched in terms of a one-time, take-it-or-leave-it offer, very few "great deals" actually are. Your relative needs to have someone she's comfortable in talking with before committing to any financial transaction other than a simple purchase. If (and that's a huge "if") she can learn to say "no" or at least "I need to think this over" before committing, and if she is willing discuss whatever she's contemplating with a trusted financially-savvy family member before saying yes, then just maybe she'll eventually gain enough knowledge to protect herself.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:11 AM   #8
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And the "older and wiser" among us sometimes peak and then decline....

We had an elderly relative (formerly very sharp) who became a victim of illegal sweepstakes and telephone scammers. This is the last person you would think would be fooled by this kind of thing. But the perfect storm of narcissism (wouldn't believe the warnings of others), loneliness, greed, and undetected decline in decision-making skills and cognition - along with the honed skills of the scammers - resulted in the loss of the person's life savings:

Similar scammer experience to the above-mentioned - long radio show but educational
http://www.postalinspectorsvideo.com...2006-26-13.wav

And a telling video
The United States Postal Inspection Service - Warning Signs

If you get a whiff of an elder being scammed (especially telephone scamming), you'd better quit agonizing about infringing on the person's "dignity," make the necessary moves and take control, because you only have days or weeks to intervene before everything is gone.

You may think you are "very involved" - maybe talking to the person every day, and doing a "good job" of warning them of the dangers of scammers. The scammers (usually more than one by this point) are talking to them 10 to 50 times a day. By this stage, your elder will be lying to you about his/her level of involvement (coached on what to say by the scammers).

By this time, the money is going out by the thousands, almost gone or gone, and the individual will be coached by the scammers to borrow money, get cash advances on credit cards, take out personal lines of credit.

If this is happening, educate yourself and get moving at the same time.

Kindest regards.
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Old 01-12-2014, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
couched in terms of a one-time, take-it-or-leave-it offer
Invariably accompanied with a "You have to decide right now or you're going to miss it" proviso so that the individual/sucker doesn't have time to think it over.
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