Safety and Planning is a Snap! with Sally Pessin

cellphone showing incoming scam call

by Sally Pessin, Esq., CRPC®

I Can’t Believe I Fell for a Scam!

For the last few years, I have volunteered for my county’s police department speaking to groups of seniors on how to avoid being the victim of a scam.  I stay apprised of the latest grifts perpetrated on Americans who are mostly over 50 years of age.

Recently, I received a text from my cable company with whom I have a $300/month package. The company texted me a phone number to call to learn of a special promotion they were offering with big box store, Target. When I called, the agent sounded legitimate as he was very well informed about my account and channels; he explained that if I paid for 6 months of service up front ($1800), I would save 50% off my bill for three years.  I was to purchase $1800 worth of Target gift cards and call back with the card numbers. The transaction needed to be completed in the next 24 hours.  The alarm bells didn’t sound as I was distracted by a client who was at my door waiting to meet with me.

When my client meeting was over, I grabbed my purse, ready to run to my nearby Target. Before leaving, I decided as a precaution, I would call the cable company’s main number instead of the one provided in the text informing me of the offer.  The representative told me that the company was not running any such promotion.  Luckily, I didn’t give the scammer my banking information or credit card. I should have known better, but I was very distracted!  As a precaution I froze my credit with the three credit reporting bureaus.  As the red flags were everywhere, should have heeded the advice I provide at my lectures!