October 31, 2021
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On today's Halloween podcast, Suze walks us through some of the worst scams out there, and we can avoid being tricked.
The numbers and websites you need to know, mentioned on today’s podcast:
October 31st, 2021. Happy Halloween everybody, a day that is really dedicated to tricks as well as treats. So, let's first start with the first treat that I want to tell you all about, which is this, Alliant Credit union, remember the sweepstakes that we had, they have picked the winners. So, I'm asking all of you and they just did this the other day, I'm asking all of you to continue to check your emails, continue to check your spam, continue to check phones, whatever it may be, they will be contacting the winners but you have to get back to them and agreed to accept the sweepstakes within seven days. So do not miss that. After that is all done. We will announce it on the podcast and hopefully talk to some of you one on one. Next, let's talk about tricks and another really name for tricks is a scam on some level at times is that recently, I have an Instagram account and maybe you know that or you don't, but it's under the name @theRealSuzeOrman and it's got a little blue check by it, if somebody that you know that is known as a celebrity and they don't have a blue check by their names, it is not them do not believe that it is them. So recently somebody and they happened to get 32,000 followers on Instagram had an account called the private Suze Orman. And they recently started to send DMs to many of you saying since this is just the two of us, do you want to learn how I created my wealth and then they went on for the total scam while they have now been taken down and thanks to all of you who actually wrote into instagram and said it was a scam, it reminds me that maybe today really today is the perfect day to do a Suze scary school and what scares me for all of you are the scams, the so many scams that are out there that so many of you truthfully are falling prey to, I don't understand why you're not aware of them. I don't understand why you believe people that you don't even know. But, I thought it might be a good idea today to just talk about the scams that are the most prevalent so that nothing ever happens to you. Because again, the scariest thing that can happen to you, on some level is when somebody else takes advantage of you, and you don't even know they're taking advantage of you and you go along with it and then there goes all of your money and boom. So, let's see what we can do to prevent that from ever happening again. I'm going to start with social security scams because this happens to me all the time. Both KT and myself get calls like this constantly, and a Social security scam is a call that tries to convince you that someone is using your Social security card to commit crimes or that there is a problem with your Social security account and to clear your name, you need to share private information. So, let me just tell you how sophisticated these scammers are when they call you, they can even spoof the Social Security national customer service number as the incoming number on the caller ID. So, I always need you to be cautious and avoid providing any sensitive information at all, such as your Social security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or the internet. Now if you get a call that has anything to do with your Social security card or a number at all, I'm here to tell you it is a scam because they would never ever call you. They don't do that. So, if you get a call like that, can you do me a favor and just hang up immediately, if you hear somebody saying this is Social security, just hang up. Whatever you do, you are not to reveal any personal data to a stranger who calls you. Now if you wish to, you can report it to the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General by simply calling 1 800 269 0271. If you've been getting a lot of these report it, so that they know. If you are afraid listen closely that you have been a victim of identity theft when it comes to your social security account, just go to ww.identitytheft.gov/ssa. So, if you're worried that you're a victim of identity theft or you want to report identity theft when it comes to your social security card, that is where you would go to do it. Next, I'm going on to Medicare scams. Now, I'm starting with scams that affect those of us that really are 65 years of age or older, because for some reason it seems that the elderly are the ones that are preyed upon the most. So, therefore that's why I'm doing it, but I'm going to talk about all kinds of scams today. So, a Medicare scam is when somebody will call you representing that they're from Medicare and that there are new benefit cards that are being issued, so that your file must be updated or that someone in your family or you are eligible for a free medical device. Now, the scammer may ask for your Medicare number and or banking information and that's what they use for identity theft. So, listen closely any call that asks you to give your Medicare number, your social security number, your credit card information or banking information is a fraud again, what are all of you to do? That's right, hang up and do not give your personal information out on any level. Now, if you happen to have any doubt about somebody who calls on behalf of Medicare, hang up and what you need to do is dial 800 Medicare or that translates to 800 633 4227 and talk to them. So, those are two scams that are going around big time today. So really, I need you to be careful. Next IRS Scams, now these are scams that affect anybody regardless of your age. And I have to tell you there are many variations on this scam, which involve claims that you owe taxes to the IRS. So you can identify the call is a scam. If you remember just one thing, everybody one thing, the IRS does not they never ever, ever call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, a gift card or a wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. So, just let me be clear on this if you ever get a call where they are demanding that taxes be paid or they asked for a credit or debit card number over the phone. I am asking you to hang up immediately everybody just hang up again, you can contact the Treasury Inspector General at the Tax Administration to report the call and you simply would do that by calling 800 366 4484. Now, I think it's really important that you write all of these numbers down that I'm giving you. You just make a little piece of paper that says Social Security scam, you know a Medicare scam and IRS scam and there are numbers that you can call. You know, you also always can report something to the Federal Trade Commission and you can use the FTC complaint assistance on FTC.gov, and so that's all you have to do. So, if you think you may owe taxes, you can always call the IRS directly at 800 829 1040. But so far, these three scams, if anybody calls you for Social Security, Medicare or IRS just hang up. They are always, always a scam. Now this one is kind of interesting and it's called or I call it the one ring phone scam now listen closely to me. Alright, this scam involves your phone ringing once or twice before going silent, with the goal being to get you to call back. Now these calls may appear to be from somewhere in the United States as the first three digits look like US area codes. However, I am here to tell you these calls mainly are placed from other countries. If you call back, you may be connected to an international phone number and charged a connection fee as well as hefty per minute fees. Now, these scammers may also leave a message asking you to call back. To avoid this kind of scam, do not answer or return any calls from numbers that you do not recognize. When I get a call and I have no idea who that is, I block them immediately. I don't care who it is. If I don't recognize it, I never call them back. It's always important that all of you are cautious because even if you think a phone number is legitimate, if you are billed for a call you made due to this scam. Try speaking with your telephone company to get the charges removed. Charges on your telephone bill will show up as premium services, international calling or toll calling, if that does not work, you can also again, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or by calling 877 FTC Help. So, let's get this straight so far. You get calls from those previous kinds of scams. You hang up. If somebody ever calls you, you don't recognize the number or there's just one or two rings and you want to know because you're so curious who that is, do not. And I repeat do not call those people back. Another huge scam, again for elderly, are what we call grandparents scams and I have to tell you these happen more than you have any idea. A grandparent scam involves a call from someone pretending to be your grandchild or any family member or a third party claiming that your member of your family is in trouble. And this person explains that he's in trouble and he goes on with this story that there's been an accident, they're in jail, they're in the hospital and they need your help. If that happens, I'm asking you to hit the pause button so that you can slow down and don't panic think of how to determine if the situation is real. Verify the person's identity who's calling you by asking questions someone else could not possibly answer. So, if you receive a phone call of this nature, really it is best to hang up and then try to verify the whereabouts of your grandchild, family member by calling his or her cell phone directly or contacting his or her parents, their spouse, the friends that you know they have. So, I think it's really important that you have a list of all the phone numbers of your grandchildren, of their friends. If something were to happen to them, ask them who would they want you to call to verify that something has really happened to you. Another way to know that this is a scam, and how they want to get money from you is that, if it's through a wire transfer service. So, if they're saying to you, we need you to send money through Western Union or Moneygram an overnight delivery service or courier, whatever it may be or prepaid card or gift card do not do it. Again, listen very closely to me, court systems and hospitals do not accept gift cards as payment. And based on reports submitted, people over 70 reported an individual loss of about $9,000 each, get this everybody, to people who pretended to be their family or friends. Again, you can report these scam calls by calling 877 FTC Help. All right, are we getting clear on these scams? Because these are the most prevalent now. There are also immigration scams. This one is a little bit more complicated so I'm not going to go in to a lot of detail about it. But just remember this, the Department of Homeland Security office of the inspector general has a hotline number that is being used as part of this telephone spoofing scam. So, the scammer pretends to be an employee with U. S. Immigration and alters the caller ID System to make it appear as if it is coming out of the Department of Homeland, their hotline number which is 1 800 323 8603. And the scammer will ask you to verify your personal information through so many different types of tactics including claiming that they are victims of identity theft. So, if somebody from immigration calls you and you see that it is the hotline number of the Department of Homeland Security and they're telling you something like, you are a victim of identity theft, we need information on you and so on and so forth. You need to know it is a scam and you are not to provide any information and you are to hang up totally. The Department of Homeland Security never uses a hotline number to make outgoing calls. The number is only used to receive information from the public so do not answer calls ever from 800 323 8603. Do not, do not answer any calls from that telephone number. Phishing calls, text and email scams. Now, voice phishing scams are when callers impersonate legitimate companies such as Apple, Verizon, or major banks to steal money, passwords, personal and financial information. Another variation involves text messages or emails claiming that your debit card has been used to make a purchase and if you do not recognize the transaction, you need to call the fraud prevention helpline which is provided. Other times the message will claim that your password has been compromised and you need to click on a link to reset it. If you call the number provided in the message, this scammer will answer the phone and will ask you to confirm your banking information which then will allow them to steal money from your account. Now clicking on links in scamming texts and emails, can enable scammers to change your passwords, download a certain type of software known as malware onto your device or access personal information. So, do not call the number provided, claiming to be from your bank or other company. If you need to discuss details about your banking account, call the number printed on the back of your debit or credit card or just visit your local branch. Again, I want you to report these scam calls to the FTC by calling 1 877 FTC Help. Now, I know we just had a sweepstakes with Alliant Credit Union that was absolutely legit. However, there are lottery and sweepstakes scams that are all over the place. Now, these scams try to trick you into giving money upfront or your personal details in order to receive a prize from a lottery, a sweepstakes or competition that you never entered. So, the scammers claim that you need to pay fees or taxes before your winnings or prizes can be released. You may also have to call or send a text to a premium rate phone number to claim your prize. Now, lottery scams may use the names of real overseas lotteries to claim that you've won cash even though you never entered into them. Now, scammers normally ask for fees or taxes to release the funds. They will also tell you they need your personal details to prove you are the correct winner, but then use the information to steal your identity or money from your bank account. Also, sometimes they will send you via email or a text message or social media, either these fake vouchers or gift cards claiming you have won a gift for well-known retailer, but you need to provide some details before you claim it. Listen, if you get a thing that says you've won a free trip, you won this you want that, can you just not use it because really nobody's going to give you anything for free if you haven't entered the sweepstakes yourself, so I need you to protect yourself. Remember you cannot win money in a lottery or competition unless you entered it. Competitions and lotteries, everybody, do not require you to pay a fee to collect winnings. Do you get that? So, when you get something and it looks tempting just get over it. It's not real. This one is an interesting scam. It's called the voice signature scam and it's known as can you hear me? These are phone scams where the scammer asks, can you hear me, then they are hoping to get you to say the word yes during the conversation that is being recorded. So, they're calling you and they will later use the recording of the victims saying yes as a voice signature to authorize unwanted charges on your utility or credit card account. So, if you ever get a call that says, can you hear me just immediately hang up on the phone. If you think that you've already received a call like this, you need to check your bank and credit card statements as well as your telephone statement to see if there are unauthorized charges. So, the reason that I'm talking to you about all of these scams on this fabulous Halloween day, these tricks, is because you have any idea how many emails we get, both KT and myself, saying Suze this happened to me. What can I do about it? They've taken money from me. So, these are all gathered from your emails from real life situations that happened to my listeners. So, it's important that you listen to everything that I'm talking about today. This one absolutely you know surprised me when it happened to one of the emailers, and we're calling it the utility scam. And this is where con artists pose as representatives from your local gas or electricity company, and they may call or knock on your door claiming that you have an unpaid balance and that unless you pay immediately, typically via a green dot money-packed prepaid cards or your debit card that they are there to shut off your service. Here's what you need to know everybody, utility providers will never come to your door to collect a payment. Utility companies will not call to ask for your credit card or bank information. So do not trust caller ID alone, to verify that the caller is from the utility company because again I'm saying again. Many scammers use spoofing technology to make the caller ID pair with a valid company name and or phone number. So, if you happen to think that there may be a billing issue with your account, you are not to provide any information to the caller. Instead hang up and call the phone number listed on your utility bill. I hate to say one of the emailers lost over $600 to that. Next, is counterfeit prescription drugs scam. Now, this one makes me really kind of the saddest of all because really as prices for prescription drugs keep increasing, many people are looking to the internet to find cheaper prices for their medications. Unfortunately, scammers are aware of this and they have set up websites that advertise cheap prescription drugs which are usually counterfeit. So, people who they purchase these counterfeit drugs in the hopes to save money, they soon realize that they have been duped when the drugs do not provide any relief from their medical condition or even cause additional health problems. So, just stick to the pharmacies. Okay that's how you need to do it. Also, there is an FBI, believe it or not, spoofing scam where people will claim to be FBI agents and call you telling you that you are under investigation for certain federal violations and you are told that if you don't pay a fee immediately that you are going to be arrested. So, the calls again are made by spoofing the local FBI field office number. So, you can file an online complaint with the FBI internet crime complaint center at www.icthree.gov . Yes, this happens. Again, anybody who's calling you and they're demanding money and they are threatening to arrest you. They are threatening to you know, turn off your utilities or whatever it may be. All you need to know is absolutely to hang up. So, let me just give you a general summary of what you should never ever do. Any caller that asked you to give your Medicare number, your social security number, your mother's maiden name, birthdate, birthplace, username, password, credit card information, billing information or any identifying information is a fraud. Never give your personal information through a phone call, email, mail, text or in person service. Got that. You are never to send money or give credit card information or online details, until you have checked the credentials of the company that you are dealing with. You can ask to be sent an invoice or bill in the mail. You are to never give in to pressure to make a decision immediately. Scammers usually will try to get you to answer or send money right away. Again, what are you going to do? You're going to hang up the phone and do your research before you make a decision to do anything. You are never going to answer calls from unknown numbers. And if you do pick up and learn it's a scam call, do not engage, hang up immediately. You are to not respond to any questions on the phone, especially those that can be answered with yes or no. Okay? You are to hang up immediately. You are to be aware of unusual payment methods. Again, scammers often ask for payments by wire transfer, preloaded cars and even Google pay, you know steam, iTunes cards or Bitcoin. This is always a sign that it's part of a scam. You are never to send money through a prepaid gift card or card. Government agencies never asked for money in the form of gift cards or prepaid debit cards. Next, you are not to open suspicious texts with pop-up windows or emails just delete them. If an email appears suspicious, do not open the attachment or click on links in the text. If unsure, you just verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. But don't use the contact details provided in the message sent to you. Next, you are to be aware of any requests for your details or money. Never send money or give credit cards online, account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don't know or trust. Don't agree to transfer money or goods for someone else, money laundering is a criminal offense, in case you didn't know that. And really you all need to choose your passwords carefully choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should always include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols and do not use the same password for every account and don't share your passwords with anyone. However, I just want to say that if somebody shares this information with you, your spouse, your life partner, you better make sure that they have a list if you trust them of all of your passwords so that they know how to access these accounts. If God forbid anything were to happen to you, just a few more okay you are to cover or block the point of service or your ATM Keypad, when you are entering your pin. Next, you are only to carry the identification checks and credit cards or debit cards that you really need. You should be using direct deposit for paychecks, tax refunds, benefit payments and so forth. You are to shred your documents that have personal financial information before disposing them or recycling them. You are always to review financial statements and bills monthly, and identify and correct errors. You are to review your credit report annually and identify and correct errors. You know under federal law, each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies you know Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report at your request once every 12 months. The way that you get that is just go to www.annualcreditreport.com or you can also call 877 322 8228. So, those are all the scams. There is many more believe me, but I think you've probably had enough. So those are things that will absolutely protect you. And the reason that I've chosen them, is they're the ones that are most prevalent when you are emailing me. Now, this was an entire podcast that I started with one treat. I then went into many tricks and now I want to end it with the greatest treat of all and you know what that is, everybody? It is, KT is here. Happy Halloween, everybody. I wanted to say to everyone is my favorite candy when I was a kid and trick or treated was peanut butter cups. Reese's peanut butter cups. What was your Suze? Just looking here like, are you kidding me? It was Tootsie rolls or Tootsie roll pop, I love those. And I still do to this day. All right, KT, are you going to dress up today? No. No, I say yes, do that before. We don't do that. Alright, everybody. I hope you enjoyed today's Suze scam school. Great. So, until Thursday there's really only one thing that we want for all of you and that is for you to remain safe. No, we just want one thing, trick or treat. That's that's how we're taking it out. Alright, everybody trick or treat, may all you have treats and no tricks. See you Thursday.
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Answer Yes or No to the follow statements.
I pay all my credit card bills in full each month.
I have an eight-month emergency savings fund separate from my checking or other bank accounts.
The car I am driving was paid for with cash, or a loan that was no more than three years, and I sure didn’t lease!
I am contributing at least 10% of my gross salary to a retirement plan at work, or I am saving at least that much in an IRA and/or regular taxable account.
I have a long-term asset allocation plan for my retirement investments, and once a year I check to see if I need to do any rebalancing to stay on target with my allocation goals.
I have term life insurance to provide protection to those who are dependent on my income.
I have a will, a trust, an advance directive (living will), and have appointed someone to be my health care proxy.
So how did you do?
If you answered yes to every item, congratulations. If you are working on improving on a few items, I say congratulations as well.
As long as you are comitted to truly creating financial security, I applaud you. If that means you are paying down your credit card balances, or are building up your emergency fun with automated payments, that’s more than fine. You are on your way!
But if you found yourself saying No to any of those questions, and you’re not working on moving to Yes, then I want you to stand in your truth. No matter how good you feel, you have some work to do before you can honestly know what you are on solid financial ground.