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Better Business Bureau Warns Against Six Scams Targeting Seniors

Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams

Typically, the victim receives a letter in the mail stating they have won a lottery or sweepstakes; it might even claim to be from Publisher’s Clearing House or Reader’s Digest. The letter instructs the victim to deposit an enclosed check and then wire a portion back to the company to cover taxes or administration fees. While the funds will initially show up in the bank account, the money will be removed when the bank discovers the check is phony. The victim is out whatever they wired back to the scammers – often thousands of dollars.

Never wire money to someone you don’t know. You should never have to send money to receive any winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes. Also, participation in a foreign lottery is illegal.

Deceptive Professionals

While many scams targeting seniors might not have a face, some scammers will be invited in the front door including technicians, contractors, air duct cleaners and other services. Some professionals will lie about the extent of the problem or claim safety issues and then inflate prices for unsuspecting senior customers.

Find professionals you can trust by researching them on the BBB website before you hand over any money. Report any deceptive offers to your BBB, local law enforcement and the state Attorney General.

Investment and Work at Home Opportunities

Promises of easy money often target older adults because they may be looking to supplement their income. The pitch might come in the form of an investment opportunity that promises big returns, or as a way to make money at home for an upfront cost. Regardless of the specifics, the victim is offered what sounds like a great opportunity but the extra income never materializes.

Always research any work at home opportunity with the BBB. Beware of investment or money-making offers that seem too good to be true or use high pressure sales tactics to get you to sign up immediately.

If you have questions about an offer you receive, contact the BBB at 1-800-646-6222.

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