Most Common Financial Scams (continued)
Because everyone is so afraid they will not have enough money in retirement, people fall victim to both legitimate and bogus investment companies offering unbelievable rates of return, as high as 50 percent with no risk, on their investments. People are so clouded by the dollar signs in front of their eyes that they don't bother to adequately investigate the investment firm to see that it is licensed and doesn't have any complaints filed against it. Common sense should tell them that if Warren Buffett isn't earning 50 percent, then how could they possibly earn that much? Wealthy seniors are lured in to investment seminars with the promise of free golf, free dinners and such. What they get instead is a very strong sales pitch urging them to purchase very bad, risky investments that generate high commissions for the stockbrokers, but very little for the investor. They even try to get them to take out reverse mortgages and insurance annuities that are very bad deals. Never give any financial information to these people -- just enjoy the golf game and free dinner.
QR Code Scams
QR codes are the small square codes with squiggles in them that on store shelves, on product boxes and in magazine ads. You can take a picture of the QR code with your camera and visit a website to learn more about a product or service. Scammers are now covering QR codes in stores with stickers of fake QR codes so that when you scan it, they can install malware on to your mobile device and steal your passwords and other banking information.
One Dollar Time Shares
One of the biggest financial mistakes a person can ever make is to buy a time share. A time share is a form of property ownership where one is allowed to use the property a few weeks every year. Purchasers don't grasp the real costs associated with such ownership until after the purchase, and they quickly realize they don't want to vacation at the same spot year after year. Thousands of people are so desperate to unload their time shares that they are advertised for just one dollar. Before you are lured in to buying a time share for just one dollar down, understand all the costs associated with the time share and that you are legally responsible for those costs until you sell the time share. The annual costs can run into thousands of dollars for maintenance, taxes, and insurance. You might have to pay thousands in closing costs at purchase. Most people have difficulty selling their time shares, which is why they are giving them away for $1.
Credit Card Scams
In 2012 and 2013, millions of people received an automated telephone call stating that the person could get a lower credit card interest rate or that their credit card was "locked" and they would have to submit their credit card number to unlock the card or receive a lower interest rate. Some thieves claimed to be from one of the big credit card issuers. Victims were told that they must pay a fee of about $600 to get a lower interest rate or have their credit limits increased and were asked to fill out a detailed financial profile form listing other accounts, their credit limits and amount owed. Thousands of people had their credit cards compromised by actually giving out their numbers. Another version of this scam involves those staying in hotels. People will receive a call claiming to be from the front desk asking the person to verify their credit card information because the hotel's computer has crashed or the credit card number somehow got lost. Always be suspicious when a company or organization calls you out of the blue and asks you to submit any personal information or bank and credit card information and to "verify" personal information.