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Wisdom Keys for Lion-Proofing Your Money

Jul 27, 2013

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Wisdom Keys for Lion-Proofing Your Money

It is amazing the things that have business potential. One such booming business is the business of swindling those who are experiencing financial hardship including the deterioration of their once before good name (credit). What makes those who are in this category most vulnerable is that their financial crisis is PUBLIC knowledge. While we are fast asleep in our beds, someone, somewhere in the world is hacking into, purchasing or downloading your personal information. The obvious scam artists are those who email me from time to time advising that some uncle, spouse or distant relative has passed away leaving them a larger than life sum of money which their government will not allow them to access so they would like to generously offer me 50% of it if I permit them to deposit it into my account. All I would need to do is provide my full name, address, social security number and bank account information in order for them to complete the transaction.

Secondly, I cannot count the number of complaints I have heard concerning those annoying calls from collections agencies. Aren’t they legit? The answer to this is, you do not know. This is one of the newest tricks in the book. Collections accounts, judgments, charge offs, etc. are either on public record or are otherwise at the fingertips of anyone who can afford about 10 bucks to access your credit report.

Scam artists are clever. Recently, a relative of mine received a phone call from an agency suggesting that they were “reaching out to my family members” to help me out with a “pending case”. My family’s financial assistance would prevent the courts from going after my assets. Not only was there NO such case pending, but these folks had acquired the name of my SISTER’S husband who I had never used as a business or personal reference on any transactions. She did not take the bait.

Then there are the occasional callers who call to advise that the warranty is about to expire on your car. Of course, the purchase of this new warranty will mean a HUGE savings for you.

In all of the above examples, by providing the information requested by these swindlers, you would have given them free access to robbing you blind.

I hope that I am sending this sooner than later, but I believe the following may be helpful to you in protecting yourself from scam artists:

1) Never give out personal information over the phone (i.e. checks by phone, credit card info, social security #, etc.) If a person claims they are calling from or on behalf of a creditor, hang up and call the creditor directly using the information you have on file for them from a past bill. If the account has been referred to collections, ask them for the name, number and address of the party who now has the account.

2) Verify the name and billing address of all requests for payment made by mail before enclosing your payment.

3) If a creditor contacts you and insists that you MUST provide them with payment over the phone right now, do not allow the pressure to cause you to become afraid or panic. Kindly advise them that for personal security reasons, that you need to verify the call and will call the business number you have on file (for the creditor you owe) directly to make your payment or arrangements.

4) When possible, conduct all business including payment arrangements in writing. This provides a written record for verification and can be used as a supporting document in identity theft claims.

5) On written requests for payment of any kind, verify that the postmark (indicates the nearest postal location to the city or zip code where the letter came from) on the envelope matches the address information on the letter itself.

6) Avoid mailing to unverified P.O. Boxes. When possible, request a physical mailing address. It is highly unlikely that a scammer will provide his/her physical mailing address.