Try your hand at rating these questions “true” or “false”:
- There are legitimate lotteries that award money to people who didn’t enter.
- You can purchase overseas lottery tickets in the U.S., but you may pay foreign taxes on your winnings.
- You can get big discounts when you hire a contractor working in your neighborhood with leftover materials that match your roof or fence.
- Banks and credit card companies will periodically send emails to verify your social security number and other account information.
If you’re over 65, you’re classed in the biggest target group for fraud and identity theft. Why? Because you’re polite – you open the door when someone knocks. You don’t hang up on phone scammers. You throw your junk mail into the trash with your name and address intact. You likely live alone and changes to your well-being aren’t quickly noticed.
Congratulations if you answered “False” to each of the above questions because:
- The purpose of a lottery is to make money, not give it to someone who didn’t enter. If you didn’t enter, you didn’t win.
- All foreign lotteries are illegal to play within the U.S. If someone says you’ve won the big one in Luxembourg, tell them you’re reporting them to the Federal Trade Commission and hang up.
- Professional contractors estimate their materials correctly. Ask your friends for a recommendation if you need to hire a contractor.
- Your bank and credit card companies will never contact you via email asking for your password or social security number. These emails are intended to lure you into providing information – no matter how official they might look. Hit delete immediately.
Stay smart. Hang up on anyone who wants your bank account or social security number and report their phone number to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
Gloria Beard for Juliette Fowler Communities