Understanding how scammers are focusing on those across Delaware will keep you safe and protected.
The other day I had lunch with a friend and while we were talking the conversation shifted to the increase of scams focused on active adults we know. My friend shared how she regularly reviews piles of mail sent to her 75-year-old father with scams spanning everything from bogus Medicare providers to mortgage providers. These scams can be pitched via phone calls, email, or regular mail. We all need to be wary and smart plus follow these practices:
- Do not click on strange links or attachments in emails and text messages. It’s tempting to click the link to verify your information when the wording says you’re locked out of your account or they need to confirm something but do not click the link. It’s wiser to visit the website you’re used to using and logging into your account to see if they are any messages or phoning the company directly to confirm any issues.
- Never give out your debit or credit card numbers or any sensitive information to someone calling on the phone.
- Get in the habit of verifying any requests for sensitive information by contacting the business at your usual contact phone numbers.
- Whenever you’re in doubt leave the conversation or hold on acting on a piece of mail, email, or phone call until you can follow through with contacting the company.
- Do not answer your door for a stranger even if they appear to have a photo ID badge hanging around their neck or attached to their jacket. If it’s important someone will phone to schedule an appointment with you. It’s not rude, it’s being smart and safe.
An IRS Scam
As we enter the peak tax filing season, Delaware State Police has provided the following Scam Alert Advisory regarding IRS Scams:
The Delaware State Police has recently been made aware of unsolicited phone calls being received by members of the community from individuals claiming to be with the IRS. The scam involves a person calling who claims the victim owes money to the IRS and this money must be paid promptly. If the victim refuses, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of their driver’s license, amongst other things.
In the most recent phone calls, the individual requests the victim to send money in the form of an iTunes or other store gift card.
Please note that the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment nor will the agency call about taxes owed without having first mailed you a bill.
- Demand you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes such as a prepaid debit card or store gift cards.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Source: This information is provided through the IRS website located at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts
Other Scams Targeting Boomers
Several of the most common scams to be aware of include:
- Email requests to verify your account information. These may come from your bank, a credit card company, a mortgage company, PayPal, or one of the online stores you frequent.
- Phone calls from Microsoft. Microsoft does not call customers to warn them of a virus on their computer. Never allow anyone to guide you through giving them access to your computer. Hang up the phone when these scammers call. Remember neither the scammers nor Microsoft can see your computer until you give them access.
- Clicking on virus alert links when visiting a website. These can be confusing and you instinctively want to click the link because of the warning appearing on your computer screen but don’t. The best thing to do is to close the window and leave that website. In many cases, if you close the window and leave the web page plus have a reliable virus scan software on your computer you will have avoided any harm. If you’re in doubt about whether the virus downloaded or not, contact a trusted computer IT person to look at your computer. Remember, don’t click the links and don’t call the phone number displayed on your screen. The phone will connect you with a scammer.
We want to remind our subscribers and followers that Active Adults Realty will never share your email address or data with anyone outside of our company or the specific transaction team. If you receive a home buying or home selling email, phone call, or piece of mail that causes you doubt we encourage you to reach out to us for assistance in confirming it’s genuinely from someone working on your transaction. Together, through good communication, you can feel confident about detecting the scams from the real requests. Be sure to subscribe to our Boomers and Beyond newsletter for similar savvy tips like being scammer alert as well as information about living the Delaware lifestyle plus you will receive helpful real estate news.