Defeating Scammers - It Can Happen to Anyone

Defeating Scammers - It Can Happen to Anyone

May 15, 2024

Have you read this article?

The Day I Put $50,000 in a Shoe Box and Handed It to a Stranger

It grips the reader like a thriller novel, yet it’s written by an educated financial columnist for New York Magazine who fell victim to an elaborate and expensive scam.

The con transpired over several hours, but it began with a phone call from a "trusted" retailer's customer service and ended with the fraudsters impersonating the CIA. Ultimately, the scammer convinced the victim to put $50,000 in a shoe box and give it to a stranger.

Honestly, my first thought was, "I could never fall for that..could I?"

The more I thought about it, the more I could understand how someone might react, given the surprise of the call and the hours of fear that followed. To her credit, the writer turned this tragedy into an educational moment by sharing her experience and the many red flags she wished she had seen.

Key Takeaways to Protect Yourself

Interrupt the Conversation - If you receive a call and feel something might be wrong, pause and let the caller know you will call them back. It's essential to call back using a publicly available number; do not use a number provided by the caller (no matter how much they protest).

For example, if you receive a call from your bank and want to be sure it's legitimate, hang up and call back using the number on your bank's website or the back of your credit card. Often, this act alone can disrupt a scam in progress.

Trust Your "Gut" - If doubts persist, refuse to engage until you have verified the caller's identity through a trusted legal or authoritative body. Genuine organizations will never rush you into making instant decisions, nor will they ask for payments in an unorthodox and immediate manner.

Cons are becoming more sophisticated making each of us a prime target. It feels unjust and burdensome to remain guarded, but a scam executed on us at the wrong time on the wrong day could have devastating consequences.

I’m sharing this in the hope it may help even one person avoid a similar fate.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you ever need guidance or if something doesn't feel right.

Take care, stay safe, and happy planning,

Brian