Scams / Consumer Protection
Don’t Get Scammed
Older adults are a favorite target for con artists and swindlers. Typically, these criminals use personal information, persistence and intimidation to swindle money from their victims.
Unfortunately, scam victims may be too embarrassed or fearful to admit doubts to family or friends. Con artists usually appear to be trustworthy and sincere, and one can easily be taken in by an offer that seems too good to resist, especially from someone who sounds like a nice person.
Lifespan can help if you suspect a scam or fraud. Lifespan can also help you avoid or handle unscrupulous contractors and telemarketers. If you believe you are the victim of a scam or need help resolving a consumer dispute, call Lifespan, 585-244-8400 or 866-454-5110 toll-free. We also provide free workshops about common scams and ID theft for groups.
10 Rules to Protect You and Your Money
1. Never give any personal information, bank account or social security numbers over the phone or Internet, unless you initiated the contact and/or you are sure the website is secure.
2. Be careful what you download. Don’t consent to prompts. Check security settings, use anti-spyware and install a firewall.
3. Prizes/sweepstakes/lotteries don’t require taxes/fees upfront. You don’t have to purchase items to win or pay money to win money. An enclosed check is most likely FAKE!
4. Never send money through Western Union, MoneyGram, cash or a green dot/prepaid cash card without confirming with whom you are speaking.
5. Don’t allow strangers into your home who are offering reduced fees for utilities, security systems, home repairs and don’t show them your bills.
6. Charitable contributions should be reviewed in writing. Don’t be bullied into making quick decisions. Call the charity to inquire how much of your money will go to the victims or visit www.charitywatch.com.
7. Check with the Better Business Bureau, (800) 828-5000, or Better Contractor’s Bureau, (585) 338-3600, before hiring a home repair or home improvement contractor. Get a written contract. Be sure your deposit is put into an escrow account. Never pay for the whole job before the work is started or finished.
8. Avoid making emotional buying or investment decisions. Resist immediate decisions, Don't be bullied.
9. Never order medical supplies through the mail, automated calls or over the Internet! Speak with your doctor.
10. Registration on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Do Not Call Registry is free. Getting on the list is free, and the call is free. Call 1 (888) 382-1222 or access www.donotcall.gov. The FTC Do Not Call Registry takes 30 days to activate.
- Elder Justice Advocate Program