Two Common Scams You Should Avoid
Again we draw upon information from Sid Kirchheimer, author of Scam-Proof Your Life. In the January-February AARP Bulletin, he warns against six common cons you should avoid. Here are two of them.
When people need help, many Americans, especially older people, open their hearts and their wallets. We are a generous and compassionate people on the whole, and that helps make us more vulnerable to scammers soliciting aid supposedly for veterans, victims of disasters, and especially needy or sick children. Kirchheimer advises, “Most over-the-transom e-mail solicitations for donations are fraudulent. Never give credit card information to telephone or front-door solicitors. Stick with reputable charities whose names you’ve know for years.” Even then, make sure you deal with the organization and not a scammer masquerading as a representative.
If you receive an unexpected call or a knock on your door from someone who claims to be a contractor and he tells you he was “just driving by and noticed that you need a repair,” don’t go for it. Some demand upfront payment for materials and then take your money and run. Others do shoddy work with bogus materials and then charge outrageous prices. The worst are those who initially might do a decent job on a small repair for you, but then they continue to recommend more repairs until your wallet is empty. If you actually need a repair, ask friends or a builders’ organization for a recommendation to a reputable contractor.