[January 2021 | By Eva Veitch, Region 10 Area Agency on Aging]
The schemes and scams continue to grow and become more devious. The fraudsters have figured out how to call from parts unknown and make it look like a local number so we will answer. They are very slick and have a variety of tricks they use to get you to reveal personal information that they will then use to rob you blind. Yes, it happens in western Colorado every day to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You have probably heard of the “Grandparent Scheme.” Grandson Robbie calls to say he is in jail or the emergency room in Mexico and he needs money, it’s easy to help him you can just wire the money. The “IRS Scheme” where if you don’t instantly “pay” a tax bill you will be arrested for back taxes. Hang up, and do not give information or speak a single world. The IRS will never call to tell you that you will be arrested for back taxes. (Learn more here.) The “Jury Duty Scam” they don’t call; they send you a postcard in the mail, hang up, or they do call, threaten you , and ask for personal information. (More info here.) Report it to the authorities, but do not respond or speak if it’s a caller.
The telephone or computer is not the only way to get you. In the “Contractor Scheme Scam,” the contractor misrepresents the cost of a job for a kickback. (Discussion). They got my mom for over $12,000 in new windows for her 7-year-old home. The “Sweetheart Scam” often targets lonely, unsuspecting seniors. Harrys new girlfriend would move to Montrose if she could afford to, she just needs a little financial help from his grandparents. Lonely widow meets slick, single man, purportely a “widower” who romances her, then needs a temporary loan to solve an immediate; she forks over her savings. Money and man both disappear.
Even reputable companies can be guilty of overselling those of us who may be gullible. One of our consumers thought he needed a new door for his older home; the one that was ordered for him cost nearly $6,700. Of course, the nice salesperson helped him complete an application for financing and told him about rebates that made the payments more manageable. This man is well into his eighties, uses a wheelchair, and is struggling to buy groceries and pay for his medications. His daughter canceled the order right away, but she was told there would be a $1,600 restocking fee.