Down East Seniors talk financial fraud

Published 2:23 pm Friday, July 28, 2017

The Down East Seniors Club held its July 26 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Stewart Rumley led the meeting. Bill Cheshire led the singing of “God Bless America,” and Ed Hamrick gave the invocation. Hamrick also gave some factoids for the date in history, and Dick Paul provided humor.

Hamrick introduced Stuart O’Neal, Edward Jones financial advisor, as the speaker. O’Neal discussed financial fraud. There are four primary types of financial fraud common today. Collection fraud occurs when a scammer tells the victim, usually by telephone, that he has a past-due debt (which he really doesn’t owe) and arrest is probable if he doesn’t make a payment to the scammer. In this case, the victim should hang up and call the party that the scammer claims is owed, using a phone number that the victim trusts, to see if the debt is real.

Romantic fraud is when a previously unknown person establishes a long distance romantic relationship with the victim by social media or email. The scammer will come up with some problem that requires immediate financial help then ask for money to be sent. No one should send money to a person they haven’t physically met and don’t know if they are who they say they are.

Lottery/sweepstakes fraud involves the scammer telling the victim by phone or email that he has won a lottery or sweepstakes and to collect he must send money to pay tax or processing fees. Usually the victim has not bought a lottery or sweepstakes ticket. The victim should immediately hang up.

The last fraud is commonly called the grandparent scam. The scammer calls, posing as the victim’s grandchild (or other relative). He says he is in some sort of trouble on a trip and needs money wired immediately. The scammer usually asks the grandparent not to tell his parents so he won’t get into trouble with them. Again, the victim should hang up.

Nine million people in this country have their identity stolen every year. Usually this information is used in some sort of financial fraud which is very difficult to correct. Everyone should be very careful to protect their personal information.

Bob Diefendorf won the 50/50 drawing.