Here are a few easy things to remember to help you protect yourself and avoid being ripped off:
"Grandparents Scam" This scam has been making the rounds and can be very convincing to a senior citizen who may be woken in the middle of the night and not completely thinking clearly. The scam basically works like this; the phone rings, you answer and the person on the other end of the phone says; "Grandmom is that you? And you answer; Yes, is that you Timmy?, then the person proceeds to say that they are in some type of trouble, and please don't tell my parents and then ask for money to wired to them in some other state or Canada. These folks can be very convincing and have no trouble getting the information from you that they want. BE ALERT!
- Do Not give your credit card or bank account number to a salesperson, particularly over the telephone, unless you are certain that you are dealing with a reputable organization. Anyone with your account number may be able to debit your account(s) even without your written permission.
- Be sure you understand a store's refund policy before you purchase an item, and remember "no refund" is a refund policy as long as it is posted in plain view.
- Before making any major purchases, be sure that you understand the terms and conditions of any warranties and be sure that all warranties are in writing.
- If you agree in writing to purchase something, make sure that the written document includes everything that you and the seller agreed to. Request copies of any and all documents that you sign.
- Before making any major purchases or agreeing to another major expense, such as buying a new car, remodeling your home, purchasing a major appliance or refurnishing your home, satisfy yourself that the business that you are dealing with is reputable. If you are going to assume anything, assume that you will not be able to get out of the agreement. Ask your friends or relatives if they ever dealt with the business and call our office to check on prior complaints.
- Read carefully any documents before signing, no matter how long the document is. Furthermore, if you do not understand the document DO NOT SIGN IT. You may want an attorney to review legal aspects of the contract. Remember, if you sign a document and try to rescind your agreement, the courts may find that by signing the document you read it, you understood it, and you agreed to its terms and conditions.
- Be very wary of high-pressure sales tactics and demands that you "must act now" to receive any special discount. Legitimate businesses always give you enough time to make a decision.
- Consider making all deposit payments by credit card; you may be protected if the company defaults by your credit cards "customer protection" clause. You must check with each card company to see if they offer such coverage.
- Don't pay a travel company before you know all of the travel details. If the company offers you a great deal, but won't give you the details in writing until you have paid, it could be a scam operation.