Fraud Prevention Tips For The Elderly

Older people may be victims of frauds like con games and insurance, home internet, telephone, or repair scams. Even “trusted” friends or family members have been known to steal an older person’s money or property. The following tips may help:

Do be on guard about hiring people who come door-to-door looking for home repair work. You should try to check their references.

Don’t give any personal information, including your credit card number or bank account, over the phone unless you were the one who made the call.

Beware of deals that ask for a lot of money up front and promise you more money later. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to get more information about the record of any company before doing business with them.

If a stranger tells you to, don’t take money from your bank account. In one common swindle, a thief pretends to be a bank employee and asks you to take out money to “test” a bank teller. Banks do not check their employees this way.

Don’t be afraid to hang up on telephone salespeople. You are taking care of yourself!

Avoid Identity Theft

How can someone steal your identity? Using your name, Social Security number, or credit card without your okay is called identity theft and it’s a serious crime. Be sure to protect yourself:

Websites without security may not protect your credit card or bank account information.

Don’t take money from your bank account if a stranger tells you to. In one common swindle, a thief pretends to be a bank employee and asks you to take out money to “test” a bank teller. Banks do not check their employees this way.

Check with your local Better Business Bureau to get more information about the record of any company before doing business with them.

Do shred everything that has personal information about you written on it.

Do check with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to find out how to protect yourself from common online scams that can trick you into revealing your financial or personal information.

Do keep information about your checking account private. Put all new and cancelled checks in a safe place, report any stolen checks right away, and carefully look at your monthly bank account statement.

When buying things online, do be very careful. Websites without security may not protect your credit card or bank account information. Look for information saying that a website has a secure server before buying anything online.

Signing up for Debt Consolidation – Staying Aware, Staying Safe

It’s a sign of the times that a business that deals in debt consolidation happens to be one of the most successful kinds out there today. The more there are people who sink in dent, the more these debt consolidation loan companies find customers willing to sign onto almost any kind of terms to help with their impossible debt repayment burdens. Do all debt consolidation companies offer equal levels of terms and services? Unfortunately, there are quite a few companies out there that try to take advantage of the desperate straits people find themselves in. They charge crippling rates of interest, and lace their contracts with all kinds of hidden fees and charges. If you are tired of being a consumer who is battened on by greedy and predatory business interests, you need to gain the upper hand on your lenders by educating yourself in your rights as a borrower.

Your first stop trying to check out a debt consolidation business you have your sights on is to look it up on the Better Business Bureau website. The BBB keeps records of every complaint that has been filed by unhappy customers against every company. Pull a report on the BBB webite and find out what kinds of problems people have faced with the debt consolidation company you’re interested in. If you’re looking for testimonials, you need to not think much of the published ones on the company website. Not only will they never publish negative comments, you can’t even be sure that the positive comments they publish are genuine. You can also visit complaints boards and online forums to see what people in general say about the top debt consolidation companies in your area.

There are many debt consolidation companies on the Internet that offer you free quotes that seem easy to ring up. It appears that all you need to do is plug in your personal information, and off you go. All you can probably expect in return for your efforts is a lot of extra spam. Remember, you can check out how reputable a firm is by calling their toll-free number and trying to find out if they will schedule a free consultation with you with no strings attached. If any company tries to get your personal information before you’re ready to sign on for their services, you can be sure there’s something about them is less than genuine.

Finally, when signing on for something as major as debt consolidation, it would be best if you could take the trouble to visit the offices of the business first. You can always get a pretty good feel for how upright a business is in its practices with a real visit (as opposed to a virtual one). Whatever paperwork they give you to sign, make sure that you carefully study every part of it. This isn’t just filler padding that they’re filling pages of your contract up with. They actually take every printed word there seriously. Reading before signing is a serious requirement.