Saturday, February 2, 2008

SAVING is not spelled S-C-A-M!

"A fool and his money are soon parted"

This may seem harsh, but it is a reality. But sometimes, the ignorant and their money are also soon parted. People will fall for pretty much anything, and it is either due to trusting someone too easily (the elderly are a good example of the ignorant types), while others are too greedy (want to make a fast buck with little effort...the fools). This often makes them easy prey for scammers. There is not much hope for the fools, but the ignorant can be helped. I don't mean ignorant in a demeaning way, either. I simply refer to those who are unaware of something, not informed or educated, not savvy to something. Savvy?

Now, before everyone gets all huffy with me, let me say, there are many folks who do innocently get scammed. With the huge rise in identity theft, phishing, and spyware, many people will inadvertantly become victims of scams, through no fault of their own.

One scam, that will catch many innocent people off guard, is already barreling down the highway. Clark Howard talked about this on Thursday. We have all heard about the rebates that are going to be sent out later this year, in an attempt to stimulate the economy (that is another topic in and of itself). Well, the scammers are already hitting people from this angle.

You are probably thinking, "Gee, they are going to try to get my rebate check? I won't fall for that!" Slow down a's more nefarious than that. The scammer will contact the victim, and pretend to be from the IRS. They will advise the victim they need to verify the account number at the victims bank, so they can make sure the rebate gets electronically deposited. They verify that is the right account (duh!), and thank you for your time. And then nothing happens. Yet.

What they do then is watch your account...and watch it...and watch it. Not for the rebate check, though...they want bigger fish. They wait and see when you typically have the most money in your account. Basically, they are looking for that paycheck to deposit, or the social security check to credit, or that pension to drop in...then they nail you, and drain your account. Once they figure that out, say good-bye to your money, cause it's on a fast plane to someone else's wallet.

In a nutshell, be very wary of anyone asking for your soial security number, your checking or banking account information, or any credit/debit card account information...legit companies won't ask for them by phone or email.

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