Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors with Brie Williams
Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors Show Notes
You don’t have to read stories about people like Alan Stanford and Bernie Madoff or The Wolf of Wall Street to learn about scams and abuses in the financial services industry. In fact, fraud and abuse often hits much closer to home, and the growing senior population all over the world gets more likely to be taken advantage of with every passing year.
Over $3 billion is reported as lost to scammers, fraud, and financial abuse each year, but the actual number is likely much, much higher.
Today, in the third part of a three-part series, Brie and I talk through the 10 most common financial scams taking advantage of people over the age of 65. However, people all over the world well under retirement age often fall victim to these scams as well, which include medical fraud, credit fraud, and identity theft. If you want to stay protected, today’s episode is a must-listen. Find episode one with Brie here and episode two with Brie here.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Why very few people are willing to self-report fraud – and why family members and trusted friends are more likely than anyone else to take advantage of you.
- How scammers prey on emotions and small amounts of information in order to steal massive sums of money – and how a 5-minute pause to check the facts can keep you and your family safe.
- Why fraudulent activity isn’t just limited to scams, but also includes fake anti-aging products such as Botox – and the health risk that this poses.
- Why education is key to understanding health and insurance products – and how to avoid overpaying for healthcare you don’t need or buying into Ponzi schemes.
- “Fraud is a big deal – and it’s more prevalent than the stories we hear on the nightly news.”
– Brie Williams
- “Once that money’s gone, you don’t get it back.”
– Dean Barber
- National Council on Aging
- NCOA’s List of the Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors
- Creating Better Financial Outcomes with Brie Williams
- Your Realistic Retirement Plan with Brie Williams
[00:00:11] Dean: As always, thanks for listening to The Guided Retirement Show. I’m your host, Dean Barber, Founder and CEO of Barber Financial Group and we’re going to continue on a discussion with Brie Williams, Vice President of State Street Global Advisors and we’re going to be talking today about the top 10 scams that are being really put onto the senior community out there and you don’t have to be old to fall prey to some of the scams that are going out there today but there are a lot of them and so take special note, pause the show if you need to, write these things down, make sure you don’t get caught in any of these scams. Enjoy the Guided Retirement Show.
[00:00:47] Dean: Let’s turn the subject here to fraud and abuse and we don’t have to go to Allen Stanford or Bernie Madoff. We don’t have to go to the example we got from the Wolf of Wall Street to recognize that fraud and abuse is something that everybody needs to be aware of, but especially as we age, we become more vulnerable to fraud and abuse. So, Brie, talk to me about what’s happening out there in the world with the senior population. Is this as prevalent as what we hear on the media or is it more so than what the media is letting us know?
[00:01:28] Brie: It is a big deal and it’s more prevalent than the stories we hear on the nightly news because if you fall victim to any fraud or abuse, it’s embarrassing. So, you can imagine that no matter how small or large the incident was, self-reporting that is not something many people are raising their hand to do. So, the numbers that are out there are around 3 billion annually in the US and I believe that it’s much, much higher than that.
[00:01:56] Dean: So, 3 billion…
[00:01:58] Brie: In losses.
[00:01:58] Dean: In losses due to fraud and abuse.
[00:02:01] Brie: That’s correct. And fraud and abuse can be many things. Fraud can be someone taking advantage of you and swindling you out of money. Abuse can be someone, even someone you know taking advantage of you and controlling aspects or all of your financial life because you’re in a vulnerable position.
[00:02:19] Dean: And this could be family members?
[00:02:21] Brie: It can be. Actually, more often than not if someone’s taking financial abuse it is through someone they know so it would be family or someone in their life that they know well. The odds of it being a stranger are actually lower.
[00:02:34] Dean: Really?
[00:02:35] Brie: Yes. That was a very shocking statistic when we ran across that.
[00:02:40] Dean: Well, let’s lay out what you see as the top 10 things that are out there as far as fraud and abuse. Let’s dive into each one of those and then let’s talk about what people can do to protect themselves.
[00:02:51] Brie: Sure. So, the good news is that these are published and they’re available on the consumer protection bureau site and there’s ten that they list that are the top scams that are targeted to seniors in the US and the seniors defined in this case is age 65 or older. What I would say to everyone listening to this conversation is you do not have to be age 65 to be taken advantage of. Anyone of us at any stage in our life can fall prey to being taken advantage of. It’s easier than we think. So, in terms of like some of the main scams, at the bottom of the list is the grandparent scam. What’s that? Well, that will be a fraudster posing on the phone as someone’s either literally their grandchild or someone that has their grandchild in a precarious situation. So, they’ll ring the house and grandma answers and they say, “Johnny needs $25,000 to get out of jail and we need it right now.”
And then through the conversation, the fraudster picks enough information that you give voluntarily because you’re in an emotional high. Someone in my family that I love is in trouble. So, instead of getting a phone number, a name, let me call you right back. The transaction is more likely to happen and they wire money over. This really happens. It’s awful. Where the logical thing to do and again when emotions run high, logic tends to go out the window. The logical thing to do would be to get their number and call them right back because if it is someone that works at the police station or at the bail bondsman, they will give you a number and they’ll give you their name and you hang up the phone and then you can call your child and say, “Is Johnny in Mexico?” and, “No, Johnny’s in his room down the hall,” so just a little patience to double-check the facts and not let emotion run away with your heart in this case and your wallet.
[00:04:52] Dean: So, is this a case where identity has been stolen then?
[00:04:56] Brie: Not necessarily. So, it could be through picking off your phone number and getting some of your mail, getting enough information that they found on you online through just a Google search, Facebook, social media. You share a ton of personal information on social media so just follow the basics of you going on vacation. Don’t tell the whole world. Share your photos when you get back. Do things in a manner that doesn’t put you out there as an easy get. It doesn’t mean you can’t share but just think about what you share, when you share, and how you share it because social media is wide open to almost everybody. Even if they’re not your friend if you will on Facebook.
[00:05:35] Dean: That’s interesting. So, the grandparent scam is actually number 10 on the list but so that’s still happening. People are still…
[00:05:44] Brie: It is. And so you think about it, if someone is playing that card as a fraudster and you’re targeting someone who’s a grandparent so most grandparents are over the age of 65, if you are spending a lot of your time alone, then in your more isolated state, you crave human attention and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, when people start paying attention to you and you love your children, you love your grandchildren, you do anything for them, and to get a phone call like that is scary and you don’t necessarily think that this is a fraud.
[00:06:19] Dean: Does this happen more in rural areas? It doesn’t matter?
[00:06:23] Brie: It doesn’t matter.
[00:06:24] Dean: Wow.
[00:06:25] Brie: It doesn’t matter at all. So, just take the time to check the facts because if your grandchild is in jail, he’ll still be in jail when you take those five-minute pauses to check the facts.
[00:06:36] Dean: That would seem to be like that would be an easy scam or abuse that you could avoid.
[00:06:40] Brie: Through awareness, yes, absolutely. And being aware of what are the popular fraud, fraudulent activities is the very first step in protecting yourself and these are conversations you can all have around the dinner table and stories are really powerful, especially when they’re real because we can learn from someone else’s mistake and not repeat that and have a negative consequence for ourselves.
[00:07:04] Dean: What’s number nine?
[00:07:05] Brie: Number nine is sweepstakes and lottery scams. So, a lot of that’s done in the mail but it can also be done on the phone and online. You’ve suddenly won lots of money. Now, think about that. It’s a great fantasy to suddenly be flashed with all that cash but did you actually enter the contest? And if you can’t really recall entering that contest, it’s probably not true.
[00:07:31] Dean: So, what are you doing? When they’re just telling you, you won something, what are they after?
[00:07:35] Brie: Well, if it’s online, it’s a phishing scam so they’re asking for information from you.
[00:07:41] Dean: So, they’re trying to steal identity. They’re trying to get…
[00:07:43] Brie: Trying to get your identity or a phishing scheme. It could be as simple as just putting malware on your computer. So, if you click on the email, open up the email, or you go to a website and the securities are lower, that can open up your computer for being scanned for your personal information.
[00:08:01] Dean: So, that I might be able to see.
[00:08:03] Brie: See what you do.
[00:08:03] Dean: Bank account information.
[00:08:04] Brie: Exactly.
[00:08:06] Dean: If you’re using a program on your computer to keep track of your investments or bank accounts or whatever you could see that.
[00:08:12] Brie: Correct. So, you never want to open up an email or click on any link or go to a website that you’re not familiar with.
[00:08:19] Dean: So, this one isn’t where they’re asking you for money. This is they want your identities so they can go use that information in other ways.
[00:08:28] Brie: Correct. Exactly. So, read carefully but again, if you really won the money then they will find you or track you down or if you did play that lotto, you have the ticket so you can go back and claim that. So, you want to be very careful about the fact that you suddenly $1 million. If it was only true, that would be great.
[00:08:48] Dean: You understand that this is big money then.
[00:08:50] Brie: It could be 25,000. I mean, every bit helps in terms of like this sudden-found money. I mean, that’s a vacation for the whole family if it’s 25. Even $1,000. Nothing’s for free. Even in a sweepstakes situation either take half to take a meeting, you have to buy a timeshare, you have to give away information. Just don’t do it.
[00:09:17] Dean: So, if it’s something that says you have nothing to do with this. You don’t remember this, just don’t open the email because what you’re saying is opening the email…
[00:09:25] Brie: Could start the chain effect of access to your system.
[00:09:29] Dean: Once that happens, how long before you know that that’s happened and that somebody’s taken control of your computer, that has gotten your information then what happens?
[00:09:37] Brie: It can be a little while. So, let’s just game that out for a second. So, you can harness the power of different technology measures to protect yourself. Your financial advisory team can enable that and watch for unusual activity such as suddenly a large amount of money leaving your account or a consistent amount of money suddenly leaving your account on a regular basis. Just small enough to hopefully avoid detection but in this case, if you’re monitoring the counter technology for something a little out of the ordinary or consistency that’s not normal for you, then that pattern of behavior can get flagged before money goes out the door in a significant volume because they know you and that’s in a pattern of behavior that’s not like you. In terms of the information depending on what they mine from your computer, that can start to impact things like them opening up a credit card in your name that you never opened and then now you potentially have issues with credit that was not finances that you expended. Because they’ve got your name, your Social Security number, they have what they need to open up the card.
[00:10:47] Dean: Can they claim your Social Security at 62?
[00:10:50] Brie: I’ve heard that that is a possibility. I mean, people have been claiming people’s Social Security number after they’ve died. So, anything is possible and it’s very sophisticated these days. So, just checks and balances on monitoring how many cards you have for credit. Are they paid up in full or what do you owe? Which banks are behind those? So, if you’re hearing from a bank if you recognize them, it’s connected to your Visa or you don’t know that bank at all and you’re not sure why they’re contacting you. The different types of financial accounts that you have, where are they, who manages those? Do you know those individuals? Do you have contact information? You know, it’s important to have a handle on your finances in terms of where things are and who is helping you with that. So, when you do get that unusual call, you can listen to your gut and think before you act.
[00:11:45] Dean: Well, that goes back to some things that we’ve talked about in previous episodes of making sure that both husband and wife are engaged in any conversation with money with a financial planner that they’re using.
[00:11:56] Brie: Exactly. Yes, because I would be leery if someone called and said, “Hi. My name is John Smith and I manage your mother’s money and we need your name on this document.” I should know who my mother’s financial advisor is, the firm, and who she does business with. So, if I receive a phone call like that, I’ll know right away that this is fraudulent behavior or it’s actually real.
[00:12:23] Dean: So, it is awareness and it’s communication.
[00:12:25] Brie: Exactly.
[00:12:26] Dean: All right. What’s the next one on your list?
[00:12:28] Brie: So, now we have a homeowner in reverse mortgages which that a lot of us are probably very familiar because there are TV ads around reverse mortgages.
[00:12:37] Dean: And they can be legitimate.
[00:12:39] Brie: Yes, some of them are legitimate and some of them may be the right thing to do. So, again, back to is this something you need?
[00:12:46] Dean: What’s the fraud here? What’s the scam here?
[00:12:48] Brie: Well, the scam there could be that they’re putting you in a position of a financial transaction that you don’t need so a reverse mortgage is debt.
[00:12:59] Dean: So, this would be more abuse.
[00:13:00] Brie: It should be abuse. Yes.
[00:13:01] Dean: Okay. Not necessarily fraud in this case, but abuse.
[00:13:04] Brie: Correct. Abuse of your financial situation.
[00:13:07] Dean: All right. We talked about that in our last episode too.
[00:13:08] Brie: Right. Selling you something you don’t really need under the premise of a different needs state that they’ve created for you.
[00:13:15] Dean: All right. So, just real briefly so that people know what a reverse mortgage is, you want to take that or you want me to?
[00:13:22] Brie: Why don’t you take that?
[00:13:22] Dean: All right. So, essentially, a reverse mortgage is where a mortgage company is going to take the – they’re going to be the main lienholder on your house but instead of you borrowing money and making payments on it, they’re going to own your house and they’re going to make payments back to you and so you might have a house that says it’s worth $300,000, it’s paid off, well, they’ll maybe give you $1,000 a month on that $300,000 house and all along that $1,000 a month becomes a loan to you and so that you owe that back to that reverse mortgage person. So, when you pass away, they own your home. They get to sell the home. They get to dictate what’s done with it and they’re going to be the ones that are going to collect that debt at the end of the day. So, in some cases, if somebody has nothing and the house is the only asset, and they need income and they don’t have anybody to leave the home behind to, then that might make sense, but it’s kind of like a mutual fund.
Not all mutual funds are created equal. Not all stocks are created equal. Not all reverse mortgages are created equal. If you’re going to do that, you really need to do your homework and understand what it is that you’re getting and measured against other options that are out there.
[00:14:33] Brie: Right. And you could easily lose that asset in the process, which is the scary part that many people don’t realize. So, again, having someone that you trust to be a sounding board and help you make the right choice. So, if it is something appropriate for you, it’s done for the right reasons, not born out of fear. Or not, because the story is too good to be true or in that case, you have access to money that you didn’t think you could do that.
[00:15:02] Dean: So, this comes back to a financial decision.
[00:15:05] Brie: Yes.
[00:15:05] Dean: That needs to be well informed and you need to understand what it is that you’re looking at.
[00:15:09] Brie: Exactly. And if someone is on their own 100%, they may be making choices that feel right, but actually, are detrimental to their financial wellness and that reverse mortgage may be that challenge for them. When we think about fraud and abuse like one of the indicators of on the scams here is actually aging scams. So, selling a Botox it’s not really Botox.
[00:15:40] Dean: Seriously?
[00:15:41] Brie: Seriously. Totally serious.
[00:15:45] Dean: What are you injecting into your face then?
[00:15:46] Brie: Right. You don’t know so it’s fraudulent antiaging products and do you know what number that one is on the list?
[00:15:53] Dean: I’m going to guess it’s probably number three.
[00:15:56] Brie: It’s number four.
[00:15:57] Dean: Number four. Wow.
[00:15:59] Brie: So, aging is scary but fraudulent activity and putting things in your body that aren’t the real deal is scarier than the wrinkles. So, any…
[00:16:09] Dean: So, they’re selling you something that isn’t what it’s reported to be.
[00:16:12] Brie: That’s correct of any kind of antiaging product. I use Botox as an example because most of us know what Botox is.
[00:16:19] Dean: I thought you’re going to tell me you use Botox.
[00:16:21] Brie: No. I’m naturally beautiful. No. But most people know it’s freezing the muscles in your face to minimize the wrinkles or put off wrinkles forming. And it’s a form of poison because it’s rat poison if it’s the pure Botox but there’s all different forms out there today with different compositions of what is in the drug but there are fraudulent activity out there where it’s a placebo or it’s actually something harmful to your body but what they’re attracting you with is it cost less and so they’re selling it to you. So, then I put you on a program or it’s the special deal offer, you get a price for two for one but it’s not the real stuff and that can be a health issue. They’re not just financial.
[00:17:12] Dean: So, they’re selling the fountain of youth.
[00:17:14] Brie: Exactly.
[00:17:16] Dean: I had no idea that that even existed.
[00:17:18] Brie: Exactly. Yeah. And to have it be number four on the list is surprising but with the age of social media and all the artwork that cameras can do today and photoshop, we can all look amazing.
[00:17:33] Dean: Here’s your before and after picture, right?
[00:17:34] Brie: Exactly. So, if you can prolong the effects of mother nature, most people are interested and at least learning about it. And taking care of yourself, health wellness is just as important as your financial wellness, but you need to do both with an informed mindset.
[00:17:52] Dean: Well, and I can see how that would be easily somebody could fall prey for that easily because medical technology is changing so fast that there might be something that you just haven’t heard of yet. Oh my gosh, this is new.
[00:18:04] Brie: Right. So, you have to do your homework.
[00:18:05] Dean: So, what do you do? How do you do the homework? What’s your suggestion there?
[00:18:08] Brie: So, for finances or for antiaging drugs?
[00:18:11] Dean: For this anti-aging stuff. Yeah.
[00:18:14] Brie: Well, you should make sure the person you’re working with is a licensed professional that has the credentials they need.
[00:18:19] Dean: So, you’re not going to buy something on the internet?
[00:18:20] Brie: You shouldn’t do that. For any type of prescription drug, you should not do that unless it’s connected to your primary or specialized physician that’s caring for you.
[00:18:32] Dean: So, the people that are running these scams, are they in physical locations where they’re actually seeing patients and administering these?
[00:18:40] Brie: Well, if there are people that are setting up like a pop up shop and it’s a party or you just need to do your homework and think who is this individual or individuals that’s presenting themselves as a medical professional or affiliated with medical profession on something that requires…
[00:19:00] Dean: Maybe ask your doctor if this is real?
[00:19:02] Brie: Exactly. So, there is some merit in all the medical ads that you see on TV with all the disclosure that’s attached, and if you listen carefully, “Ask your medical professional if XYZ drug is right for you.” That’s very good advice. Ask your medical professional if XYZ antiaging product is right for you.
[00:19:21] Dean: Crazy.
[00:19:22] Brie: And then where to get it if it is right for you, if that’s not something that they are practicing.
[00:19:28] Dean: Okay. Let’s take a quick break. This is the Guided Retirement Show. I’m Dean Barber. We’ll be right back.
[00:19:33] Female: At some point in everyone’s life, you have to go to school because let’s face it, a good education is important and just because you’re nearing retirement age or you’re already there, it doesn’t mean the learning stops. One of the easiest ways to learn about retirement is at Barber Financial Group’s Education Center. There, you’ll find things to read, to watch and to listen to about important retirement topics. So, go to BarberFinancialGroup.com. Click on the menu dropdown. It’s in the upper right-hand corner and select Education Center. There you can download and read our Social Security checklist, watch Dean Barber’s latest video on the current state of the markets, or listen to an audio recording about tax reduction strategies and so much more. There’s no cost. Just sign up for access at BarberFinancialGroup.com. It’s as simple as that. Besides, there’s no tests, no textbooks, and I promise not to move your seat even if you talk too much. There’s so much to learn about retirement. Just go to BarberFinancialGroup.com. Click on the menu drop down and select Education Center.
[00:20:47] Dean: All right. What’s the next one on your list?
[00:20:49] Brie: So, now we have a homeowner in reverse mortgages that a lot of us are probably very familiar with because there’s TV ads around reverse mortgages.
[00:20:58] Dean: And they can be legitimate.
[00:20:59] Brie: Yes, some of them are legitimate and some of them may be the right thing to do. Again, back to, is this something you need?
[00:20:06] Dean: What’s the fraud here? What’s the scam here?
[00:20:08] Brie: Well, the scam there could be that they’re putting you in a position of a financial transaction that you don’t need.
[00:21:32] Dean: Welcome back. I’m Dean Barber, CEO of Barber Financial Group and this is The Guided Retirement Show. All right. That one totally a surprise. What are the others?
[00:21:40] Brie: So, the obvious one I think we touched on is with insurance so there’s plenty of insurance fraud and that is…
[00:21:47] Dean: Is it fraud or is it abuse or is it both?
[00:21:49] Brie: It’s both. So, you can be sold a product.
[00:21:51] Dean: Is that number one?
[00:21:52] Brie: That’s number one.
[00:21:53] Dean: Wow. See, no wonder I get so angry whenever I see that stuff happening.
[00:21:57] Brie: Exactly. And it’s not limited to financial insurance. The larger activity of fraudulent behavior is with medical and health insurance.
[00:22:08] Dean: Seriously. Okay. So, tell me about that.
[00:22:10] Brie: Well, you think about like this is a list for our seniors in the US and they’re more attuned to trying to do the right thing with taking care of their health and their wellness on their journey of life. So, they are looking at insurance because they’re either transitioning away from insurance program that was part of their career as part of the work benefit and looking at what, if anything, do they want to supplement from Medicare or Medicaid. So, in the private space of insurance do I need something? What do I need? What’s the right amount? Those have implications to your financial life too because again you don’t want to buy something that you don’t necessarily need. So, first and foremost, understanding what type of coverage do you have through Medicare and Medicaid and then based on your own personal history in terms of your health, what might you need to live out the journey of living well and living long but also inclusive of mitigating a risk of a breakdown on living well and living a long journey.
[00:23:09] Dean: So, what are some of the products that are being sold? Is it real insurance?
[00:23:14] Brie: It’s real insurance. You just may not need it.
[00:23:16] Dean: I got it.
[00:23:18] Brie: It’s not necessarily that it’s fake insurance. There certainly are products out there that will dupe you of where it’s not even a real product. It’s just pure fraudulent behavior like a Ponzi scheme. You’re buying into nothing. But there’s also selling you things that you do not need because you haven’t taken the time to, one, be aware and educate yourself of what type of fundings and structures are necessary for my journey.
[00:23:45] Dean: Now, what are the top ones that are being sold that aren’t needed? I mean, we did a whole episode on long-term care.
[00:23:51] Brie: Sure. Long-term care insurance is a popular one.
[00:23:55] Dean: Is it like cancer insurance or insurance that are very specific to a…
[00:23:58] Brie: Well, you could be buying more insurance that you may need.
[00:24:00] Dean: Yeah.
[00:24:01] Brie: So, if you have someone that’s riddled with health challenges and you’re looking at a long-term care policy that’s better suited for someone that has a life expectancy of living to 99 and based on the way things that had been going, your life expectancy more realistically is 79, you don’t want to be over buying something that is a waste where that money could go to charitable cause that you’re passionate about, to your children, to your spouse, whatever its purpose really is designed for. You want to cover yourself, yes, for the contingency plans that we’ve talked about before, but you don’t want to buy a product you don’t need especially when it comes to long-term care insurance.
[00:24:41] Dean: Interesting. So, we did an entire program on long-term care life insurance and planning for those things and how do you understand what you need and what you don’t need. I’ve heard you didn’t get to listen to that when you need to, because I didn’t realize that was a number one abuse and scam that’s out there for seniors.
[00:24:58] Brie: Yeah. Because it’s very top of mind for the seniors in the US today and we want to make sure that we’re protecting ourselves and insurance is usually part of that equation. So, we’re listening and we tend to be a little over-eager if we don’t just take a beat to do the research and with the work with a financial advisor, hopefully we are, really kind of assessing is this the type of insurance that I need for the plan that we have in place which includes the what-ifs.
[00:25:27] Dean: Wow. Okay. What else on the list is important?
[00:25:29] Brie: So, obviously the one, we’re probably all familiar with Internet fraud which is number six on the list. Internet fraud can be people posing as companies that don’t exist, individuals phishing for your personal information, so identity theft. Internet fraud can be in the form of an email so it could go to, you know, a professional and they can pose as you, the client, and say that you need $80,000 to come out of the taxable account because you want to buy a townhouse in the city. The red flag for the professional in that case, because they know you well, “Oh, we didn’t talk about buying a townhome. Let me call Mary about that and find out what’s up.” And maybe it was something she failed to bring up, but odds are that was never in the plan and someone had access to Mary’s information and enough information that they presented themselves credibly as a bank working with that transaction.
[00:26:26] Dean: Or they’ve stolen your email information, they’ve copied it, made it look like it’s coming from you and send that off.
[00:26:35] Brie: Right. It’s very sophisticated today.
[00:26:38] Dean: So, in a lot of the self-service entities that are out there in the investment world, I think that’s much more prevalent than it is if somebody’s working with a financial planner.
[00:26:48] Brie: Yes and no. So, if you just think about how secure is your personal computer so if you clicked on a link that took you to a page that wasn’t secure, did any malware get on to the system? Now, you have a cybersecurity issue.
[00:27:05] Dean: What I’m saying is, Brie, from my perspective, every one of my clients knows that if you want money, I have to talk to you. I’m not going to take a voicemail. I’m not going to take an email. I’m not going to take a fax. I have to talk to you.
[00:27:23] Brie: Not everyone knows that.
[00:27:25] Dean: But if that was a rule, that would, in that whole deal, right?
[00:27:28] Brie: It should. But again, not everyone works with a financial advisor. Not everyone works with a fiduciary like yourself.
[00:27:36] Dean: You know, at the end of the day though, once that money’s gone, it’s gone.
[00:27:38] Brie: You don’t get it back.
[00:27:39] Dean: No.
[00:27:40] Brie: Yeah. So, if that wire transfer had been actionable so the email received to the professional to transfer $80,000 to the bank that was representing the sale of this imaginary townhouse, that $80,000 would be gone.
[00:27:54] Dean: I’ve seen and I don’t know if this on your list or not, but I’ve seen instances in just one that came up a couple weeks ago where I know an individual who is in charge of the bookkeeping at a fairly good-sized law firm and she said that this law firm multiple times had attempts to scam and they’ve actually sometimes they said, “Well, this is so and so from and we got to get this money over this individual and I need you to transfer the money,” and money gets transferred and by the time it’s gone, it’s gone. And so, they’re not just targeting the individual here. They’re actually going after even law firms where they’re getting them to do things that…
[00:28:37] Brie: Absolutely. Yes.
[00:28:40] Dean: So, it’s not just the financial services industry I guess is what I’m saying.
[00:28:43] Brie: And it’s very broad and that’s very true. So, it’s not just individuals. It’s corporations, small and big, that can be exposed to cybersecurity risks all by a single employee clicking a link in their work email that they shouldn’t have. And it just takes a small access point to begin the process and it may take a while, but it can happen. So, that’s why depending on the industry that you’re in, you may be receiving training as an employee about cybersecurity and what your protocol is as an employee on what you open and don’t open on emails that are from an unfamiliar source or even if it is a familiar source reading carefully, because there might be a typo or they may reference something that’s incomplete information or inverted account numbers. There’s usually something that’s not right but they’re getting so good that it’s often hard to see without carefully reviewing. It’s pretty sophisticated.
[00:29:42] Dean: Amazing.
[00:29:43] Brie: It is. So, that’s why when something like this happens and there’s work to be done on all sides, so more awareness as individuals is the consumer. How can I protect myself? I need to know what the top 10 are because those may change over time, especially as technologies rapidly as it changes will reshape possibilities of how someone can take advantage of an individual or a company.
[00:30:08] Dean: So, you hear people talk about the identity theft, protect your identity. There’s companies out there that are selling memberships to protect your identity but a lot of the things that you talked about here for fraud and abuse, it’s not just identity theft. It’s being aware of all of your surroundings and what’s going on.
[00:30:27] Brie: Exactly. So, just a simple of a good habit to take of any age is are you looking at your credit card activity on a regular basis especially if you travel? Because all it takes is someone just getting the information off of a slip or in an unsecured online transaction that you did to purchase something.
[00:30:51] Dean: It’s interesting because I get a notification every time there’s a charge.
[00:30:54] Brie: Right. And you can set that up.
[00:30:55] Dean: It’s on immediate notification.
[00:30:56] Brie: You can set that up. I have that of a certain dollar limit. I want a notification that a transaction was made on this card and I’m very happy to see those emails because then it’s an instant verification of, yes, that was me because at a certain amount that’s a problem, but even just looking at your activity and I would say look at it if you travel a lot like I do, I look at my activity on a weekly basis to make sure that all the transactions were indeed me. If I’m traveling out of the country even more important to take a look. Because when you can catch it sooner rather than later, and then really understand the type of credit card you aligned yourself with, what are the protective measures in place if someone does make a charge and it wasn’t you? Are you out that cash or will they protect you?
[00:31:42] Dean: Right. Interesting. A lot to think about there but I think mostly what you’re saying is that the scams of fraud and abuse should be able to be identified if you’re aware of your surroundings. So, you tell people again where to go get this list that you showed today.
[00:31:59] Brie: So, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a list available and it’s under the national website which is NCOA.org and there they have the scam list and they maintain that on a regular basis and you can learn…
[00:32:18] Dean: And do they get tips on what to do there?
[00:32:19] Brie: They give you tips and they also go in-depth with stories on each of the 10 so you can really understand what each one is about and what to be mindful of. I mean, it is a worthy opportunity to go visit.
[00:32:34] Dean: Wouldn’t it be great if everybody was just honest?
[00:32:36] Brie: I know. Well, you want to expect the good in people and give them the trust that you believe they deserve, but you also have to protect yourself and be risk aware in the process. I think there’s a balance that you can strike between the two, so it’s a satisfactory experience all the way around. But even as a daughter, I’m mindful of what the top 10 scams are and my mom is too so she’ll ask me like when the whole Equifax broke in the media, she asked me about that, and I had not completed educating myself on it. So, she was ahead of me when she had asked me the question. And should I do this? Because the media was saying, “Take this action to protect yourself,” and that action for some it was a good plan and for others, not a great plan.
[00:33:21] Dean: Well, thanks for sharing all that. That’s fascinating.
[00:33:24] Brie: My pleasure.
[00:33:25] Dean: Hope you enjoyed this episode of The Guided Retirement Show. You can find links to this episode and show notes and also the giveaways in the show description. The one article that we talked about from the NCOA is the National Council on Aging, it’s NCOA.org and the piece that we were talking about is the top 10 financial scams targeting senior so go to NCOA.org where you can find the top 10 financial scams targeting seniors or you can find a link to that in the show notes. You can also go to GuidedRetirementShow.com/5. Don’t forget, subscribe to the show. Share it with your friend. Thanks for joining us on The Guided Retirement show.
Investment advisory service is offered through Barber Financial Group, an SEC-registered investment advisor.
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Investment advisory services offered through Barber Financial Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.
The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.