If you have a sign for a home security system in your yard, be wary of this summer scam. Fraudsters will hire college students to walk through neighborhoods looking for houses with security system signs. The student will tell the homeowner the security company is going out of business, and the student’s “company” is taking over the account. The homeowner is told she has to buy new equipment and sign a new contract. Only the equipment is fake and the homeowner is paying for a service she isn’t receiving. If you get this kind of visit, check first with your home security company. Better yet, don’t do business with someone who comes unsolicited to your home.
Caller ID Spoofing
Caller ID spoofing is making its way to phones near you. Scammers have mastered calling people using a fake name and number that will pop up on your phone. The call will seem urgent; for example, it could concern something like an account that is about to be cancelled unless you immediately give your bank information or credit card number for payment. Never give out personal information via an incoming phone call. You never know who is actually on the line.
Home Repair Scams
We are in prime time for home repair scams. A common tactic is a “contractor” will come to your door and offer to do work on your home at a steep discount. He or she will likely demand payment upfront and then disappear. Or they will do the work but it will be shoddy, or they will demand more money to finish the job. Avoid working with contractors who contact you. Before you start any work, ask for references and check them, get a written estimate and compare bids. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints. And never pay anything until you have a written contract.
Accessing Public Wifi
Using public wifi puts you at risk of sharing personal information with criminals. If you're on free public wifi at the gym, hotel or a coffee shop, anyone else on that same network can tap into the information you're transferring over the network. This means any bad guy can see what you're doing, leaving passwords, usernames, and account numbers vulnerable. Stick to only browsing the web and checking news when on public wifi. Avoid using online banking, checking your email, making credit card purchases, or even posting on Facebook when using public wifi.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.