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Yet Another Scam

      6 months ago I wrote about some common scams that target seniors. Here’s another one that doesn’t just prey on seniors but really on anyone who is struggling financially.

      Joe received numerous phone calls from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. That’s the company that many of us remember because Ed McMahon was their pitchman. It’s the company that runs a “sweepstakes” in which participants can win $1,000,000. They ran commercials for years in which winners were presented with an oversized check at their front door.

      The caller told Joe that if he paid a fee he could “move up the list” and soon be a winner. Of course, this wasn’t true. It certainly sounds like a crime to rig a contest by telling contestants if they pay money it increases their chance of winning.

      Nevertheless, Joe was desperate. His wife had just entered a nursing home and he was stressing out about how to pay for it. It all sounded too good to be true. He knew that but he wanted to believe it.

      Joe was told that if he paid $7500 he’d increase his odds of winning $1,000,000 as well as some of the lesser prizes. He went to his bank to wire the funds to an account overseas, another red flag. Joe received more calls and sent 2 more wire transfers totally another $15,000 to “assure himself of being a winner”

      Of course he didn’t receive anything. The phone number he was given was disconnected. When he realized he had been taken he was crushed. His children were upset as well. Everyone asked themselves, “how could this have been prevented”? They also asked if Joe’s bank bears any responsibility.

      Next week I’ll answer those questions.