Just this week I got a call from an elderly female client. She called to tell me that she had recently won $450,000. For a brief moment, I got a little excited. But as she continued to talk it quickly became apparent that she had been scammed. It went like this.
She got a call saying she had won this large amount of money but they needed her to first pay the taxes and delivery charges on it before they could finalize her winnings and send her the check.
But that wasn’t all, she had to do it within the next 48 hours.
Thank goodness she had called us. I clearly expressed to her that it sounded like a scam and to do nothing. If it was truly a winning she was entitled to, there would be no pressure to respond quickly or to pay for something in advance.
But there’s more.
This was the second time in two weeks she had gotten one of these calls. The first one had come from the “Publisher’s Clearing House”. I thought to myself what a sneaky thing to do. Our client had mentioned they called to tell her she was the 2nd prize winner and all she had to do was to send them only $20 to secure her winnings and they would come by in 2 days with the check. She had actually been participating in the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes and was so convinced she’d won that she had her son (who was undoubtedly skeptical) stay with her that day to be there when they came.
Guess what. They didn’t come. Once again a scam.
Thankfully she had a son and some financial advisors looking out for her. It’s very maddening that elderly people have to deal with these things. When I spoke to her, I could tell she knew that she hadn’t really won, but I could also tell that there was that little sliver of hope in her voice, that maybe it was true. And that’s the hook these scammers use to take advantage of our elderly.
Angie Furubotten-LaRosee, CFP® is a financial planner who helps regular people with "big picture" planning, focusing on their money and their lives.
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