Scams, Spams, Flim Flams and Bunko Artists

Jan 12th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Senior Citizens, because of increased vulnerability, are in a position to be conned more easily than at any other time in their lives. And activities of con artists are on the increase. There are a lot of people in retirement jumping on band wagons these days in hopes of that wagon taking them somewhere better. It is amazing the number of entrepreneurs who are emerging to take advantage of the desperation of others. Of course, the classic example is Mr. Madoff, pronounced “made off.”

Look out there is a bumpy road ahead and con artists have the map. They know every detour, side road, unmarked lane, driveway, destination, cul de sac, dead end out there. They know how to help direct you to where you aren’t going, but if you just take their advice you will get there a lot more quickly.

Swindles and Scams and Spams and Flim Flams are as abundant as funny money, tricks up the sleeve and notorious hokum designed to catch you in its snare. How do you head off the bunko artists who know more about cheating you than you do about protecting yourself?

Start by honing your suspicious nature. The rule of “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” always applies. Know how to generate your BS detector. Listen for the slang and jargon and pitch of an artist seeking to draw you into his trap. Phone call solicitations are a very good way to practice. The answer is NO. George Carlin offered a number of sagacious tips in helping people understand how best to deal with cheating callers. Finally, the best way is to hang up. Politeness with these guys does not apply. Remember you are in charge of the phone. Being rude to someone you have never met, will never meet and whose only interest is in catching you in a hoax does not violate the principles of Emily Post and etiquette.

On the street, watch out with a keen eye. Don’t get caught by some shark looking to get your attention, distract you and pull a fast one. Women laden with packages and a purse are always a good object lesson. While legitimate need is one thing, watch for persons just needing a few quarters to buy a meal. Park in conspicuous places in parking lots. Be sure it is well lighted, if at night. Use your key fob, get into the car quickly and lock it. Watch out for courteous strangers, who just want to help you with your packages. Isn’t this sad? But desperation is the mother of chicanery.

In your home, avoid answering the door to strangers. Solicitations are out of bounds. If necessary, post a sign indicating such. Do not allow tricksters to offer you a treat. If you have an alarm system and live in a highly populated area, keep it set during the day and night.

Finally, use your car alarm as a means to call attention to yourself in compromising situations. Keep it handy. If something unusual befalls you, hit the button, even if you are in your front yard. You paid for it, use it as a means for protection.

While not everyone is a crook, these times offer incentive for desperation, bred out of hopelessness. Remember some people are just looking for a way to get by, but the safety of senior citizens is foremost. Instead of grabbing the con, demonstrate your sympathy by contributing to worthy charitable causes which assist the unemployed, the homeless, and the hungry.



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