Article 35-Estate Planning Series: Protect You and Your Family from Scams 

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

As I have stated in recent weeks, efforts to scam seniors are systematically working through our community.  Technological advances have made this an even more serious risk.  Now, scammers literally half a world away have the ability to identify vulnerable – usually senior age – victims right here.

To protect yourself, keep in mind the following keys.  Many come from a very informative article by Sid Kirchheimer, who writes for AARP.  

  1. If you didn't enter the contest, you didn't win.  Remembering this will avoid so many problems. 
  2. A lottery or sweepstakes requiring an upfront payment is a scam. According to the BBB, winners of legitimate drawings are never required to pay up front. 
  3. You have no obligation to pay anything upfront. If scammers can’t trick you into paying fees upfront, they may try to threaten or intimidate you into sending money. 
  4. If you receive a check with instructions to deposit it and send a portion back, don’t cash the check. This is a scam and you will be responsible to repay the money you deposit.    
  5. If they solicit you, never give any financial information. This is true even if they refer you to a website that seems to show they are a legitimate business.  It is very easy to set up a sham website.
  6. If you have been victimized, prepare to be targeted again. Yes, the bad guys share information. 

My greatest concern is that it only takes one weak moment to destroy a lifetime of preparation; and those opportunities for weak moments tend to increase with the frailties of age.    Given this, I recommend the following:

  • Identify now someone you can contact for support if you are unsure what to do.
  • If you are concerned about someone you feel may become a victim, share this information with them now.
  • Incorporate into your estate plan now a mechanism to protect your significant assets from moments of weakness. Consult a knowledgeable professional for guidance.

© 2015 Steven J Wright  

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