Scams

Scams, Scams Everywhere

Don't become a victim of con artists.

My mom almost became a victim of a con artist recently. A man who called had her so convinced that she had won $185,000 that she was about to wire him $200 to claim her prize -- until I intervened.

My mother, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, called my uncle to help her wire the money. My uncle called me, and I went to her house immediately to explain to her what really was going on. While I was there, the con artist called again. This time I answered the phone and told him not to call back.

I dialed *69 to get his number. I then called the phone company to have a block placed on calls from that number. And I called the Federal Trade Commission to report the fraudulent call.

Still, the man called back again that evening and the next morning -- from a different phone line. So I got my mom a phone that displays the number and name of the caller and told her not to answer if it was someone she didn't know. So far, that has been working.

Seniors are easy targets for people running scams. Luckily, I was able to help my mom avoid becoming a victim. To protect your parents -- and yourself -- learn more about con artists’ favorite senior-directed scams in Watch Out for Scams That Target Seniors.

And watch out for H1N1 flu-related scams. According to the January issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, con artists are hawking bogus versions of Tamiflu, the medication used to treat H1N1, as well as special shampoos, hand sprays and "photobiotic" gizmos. The Food and Drug Administation Web site has a list of fraudulent products.

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