This is part two of my previous blog on how to protect ourselves from scams. As we anticipate another stimulus package we want to be as proactive as possible in protecting our finances. One of the best ways to protect ourselves is to just be aware of what’s going on around us.
One of the realities of our country is deeply political and social divisions and scam artists have discovered a way to exploit the divide. Like me, you may have noticed an uptick in emails from Political Action Groups. They seek to prey on peoples’ beliefs and convictions by promising action for a price. Here’s the rub. PACs are loosely defined and can be used for almost anything the organizer deems appropriate. This includes as one individual put it “building generational wealth”. They were talking about their family, not yours. I’m not discouraging you from supporting your beliefs financially, but be cautious and research everything about the group before you donate. It’s the best way to protect yourself from a scam.
During the lockdown, there was a proliferation of niche online groups. Flower arranging, painting, cosplay, gaming, makeup, designer clothing for pets, just to name a few. Loneliness is a real issue. Seeking out a community of people we feel a connection to can be a lifeline for so many. As a society, we know all about romance scams and feel good about being able to protect ourselves from heartbreak, so scammers had to pivot. Building non-romantic friendships that get tight as the stimulus checks get closer is worth a moment of detached consideration. You need to see if the connection is authentic. If this friendship comes with continual stories of sick relatives/children, imminent disaster, constant and confusing (but heart-wrenching) drama, pause. Of course, we all should have generous hearts, but not to the point that we enable another’s thievery to our detriment. Protect yourself and don’t get played.
I was driving across town for a socially distanced meeting with a dear friend. My phone rang and I didn’t check the ID. A very stern, commanding voice told me NOT to hang up. The person said my social security number had been suspended due to my criminal activity. Stay on the line for instructions on how to pay to get it released. I hung up but they called every day, twice and hour from 9-6. They did this for three solid weeks and each time from a different phone number. What if I was an elderly person, a new immigrant, someone who was recently released from incarceration? This constant barrage could wear an individual down and scammers depend on this. If anyone you know and love falls into a category that makes them vulnerable, please reach out to them first and don’t wait for them to lose their stimulus checks or more. The link below will lead you to the information you can share with them to help shore up their financial protection from scammers.
I know it can be frustrating to have to constantly monitor your finances and find different ways to protect ourselves from scammers, but it’s a reality we in. I remember feeling so scared a year ago, not knowing what would happen to me, my family and friends. Just as quickly, ingenuity, hope, and strength have emerged from our country. In the same way, the vaccines are rolling out now, I’m hoping there be will inventions and new technology that will obliterate scams and have criminals running with their tails tucked. While we have to be vigilant, let’s also stay optimistic about our financial outlook. Here’s to a safe and happy re-opening!
The team at CESI is committed to helping you make wise financial decisions and to helping you understand how to get out and stay out of debt. For a free debt analysis, contact us and find out how we can help.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. empowers people to overcome their financial challenges and lead financially-healthy lives.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY