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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

Where You Live and Go Invites Scammers

Seniors are regularly bombarded with phone, email, and text scammers from across the world, and where you live and visit both in real time and virtually can make you a target. Seniors must be mindful that clever scammers will take nuggets of information from your home’s location to convince you that their enterprise is legitimate. Be aware that most scammers are not just blindly calling you from a list of names, but these groups are using information mined from you to target your money.

Living in a beautiful retirement community can be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, but senior homeowners must be aware that these developments are viewed as ripe fields of scamming opportunities. A community of 55-plus residents is assumed to have its fair share of senior citizens that can easily be taken advantage of. If you receive a call, email, or text from someone who claims to be representing your development and is requesting personal information, do not give it to them. When providing information, it should be through contact that you have initiated with someone that is trusted from information you have verified. These scammers may refer to geography around your development or a homeowner’s association board member that you are familiar with in order to give them some form of legitimacy. Any information you provide like an address, email, or phone number can be used against you in a scam. Don’t communicate with unknown parties on the phone, email, or text. Also be mindful that although you can block these people from your electronic devices, nothing prevents them from showing up at your home.

Scammers like to knock on doors, especially unscrupulous roofers, lawn services, garage door, and driveway repair people. They will come to your door and tell you they were doing work for your neighbors and noticed that you had a severe problem with your home, such as an issue with your roof. Here is a simple rule about home repairs, you should be the person identifying a problem around your home and then, you should call licensed repair people who are trusted in the community. Never, ever do business with someone who just knocks on your door looking for work, and please, never share any information about yourself, bank accounts, credit card, or home mortgage information. One of the most important things you can do is to never sign anything from someone soliciting business at your door.

Where you go both physically and virtually can lead to a wave of scammers. Every time you complete an entry form for a prize or coupon, you are giving valuable information to scammers. Completing a registration card for a free vacation or meal, and then placing it in a box on a counter, is like putting your private information on a billboard. Do you know that scammers will even go to legitimate businesses who have drawing boxes just to steal the forms out of the box? A registration form lying on a counter or being completed virtually online is giving scammers a blueprint on how to take your money, and it also tells them what is important to you.

The spring and summer are busy times for scammers trying to take advantage of seniors in Florida because many people are considering projects around the house. Don’t make it easy, protect all of your information and do not engage with anyone you don’t know regarding your personal information. Something as innocent as giving a person your middle name could help a scammer crack a password. Additionally, never answer those questions on social media that discuss first car, first date location, year you were born, etc., because these are just slick techniques for scammers to crack your passwords and mine information about you.

With the concentration of senior housing in Lake and Sumter Counties, seniors should be very mindful they are always a target. The best advice to keep from getting scammed is to not engage unknown people, do not provide any personal information, end calls with unfamiliar people immediately, and delete messages from unknown parties. Don’t trust anyone that you really don’t know.

Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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