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MAR
06
Protect Yourself

One of the main philosophies that I built my company on is that
NO ONE is going to take advantage of the people that we work with! 

Having said that, it is super important that I share with you something that happened to one of our team member's parents just this week.  It might sound like something straight out of a Dateline NBC, that happens far away, but it actually happened right here in our own back yard. 

It was a PHONE SCAM!

While there are various phone scams going on out there, here's how this particular one went down.

My team member's mom received a frantic call from her grandson Billy.  Billy sounded frantic and upset as he explained that he had been involved in a car accident.  He was banged up, but he was going to be ok.  He was calling "grandma" because he didn't want his parents to know about the accident, and he needed their help to stay out of jail.

He then asks them to send $2,000 right away to cover the cost of the attorney who was going to keep him out of jail. The attorney then got on the phone and instructed them to go purchase a Walmart gift card for $2,000.

Once they had the gift card, they were to call him right back to give him the gift card number, (that you scratch off the back of the card to validate and then use). Within only a few minutes, the card had a zero balance.

Naturally, they were very concerned about their grandson who had never been in any kind of trouble before, and they just wanted to help. Unfortunately, it wasn't actually their grandson, and they had just been taken advantage of by a well-trained team of con artists. 

They are out $2,000, with no chance of ever getting it back.

This particular scam is known as "The Grandparents Scam."  The con artists target grandparents using the "distressed love-one" tactic, and it is happening around the nation.  Bullies posing as grandchildren in distress are scamming grandparents out of thousands of dollars.

There are a few versions of this scam, which include a loved one like a grandchild being arrested, being in a car accident, or even being in the hospital. They all include the follow-up request of immediately sending money in a way that the grandparents are sure not to get it back. The scammer may even call back later to ask for more money. 

The supposed grandchild may claim embarrassment about the alleged trouble, as was the case with my team member's mom described above, asking them to keep it a secret. You should also keep in mind that there can be one or multiple scammers involved, as a partner may pose as an attorney or law enforcement.

Being aware of such scams and how to protect yourself from them, might help protect you and your family from being separated from your hard-earned money.

Here are a few ways that you can avoid being taken advantage of:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story.
  • Be suspicious when you receive phone calls where:
  • Check out the story with other family and friends. Call phone numbers that you know to be genuine (not the number provided by the caller).
  • Ask questions that would be hard for an impostor to answer correctly. (eg. Your loved one's date of birth)
  • Know what you and your family members are sharing online (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat).
  • Use privacy settings to limit what you share and encourage others to do the same.
  • Check bbb.org/scam for more advice and to report a scam when it happens.

Chad Disbennett


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