How to guard against credit crooks, lying lenders, and bogus buyers


Personal Finance for Seniors

“Hi, this is Tiffany from Card Services. You’re now eligible for a lower interest rate, but only if you act today. Press 2 to speak to a live representative.” If this sets off alarms in your head, you’re on the right track. Scammers love to use credit cards, loans, and checks to steal your money. Here’s how they put this to work in three of America’s most successful scams.


“Card Services” is robocalling you.

Typically, a computerized autodialer is delivering a prerecorded message from Tiffany. If you choose to speak with a representative, they will say to qualify for that lower rate, they need your credit card number, security code, or other sensitive information to “confirm your identity.” The rest, as they say, is identity theft history.


This loan ad is brought to you by scammers everywhere.

Imagine you spot an attractive ad for a loan in your newspaper or mailbox. Maybe you visit a loan website. Sending in an application can trigger something known as the advance fee loan scam. Swindlers email or call, promising you’ll be approved for the loan once you pay a processing fee, security deposit, or insurance fee. Hint: You never get the loan after paying the fee.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises you to be leery of lenders who: 

  • offer a loan by phone.
  • don’t need your credit history.
  • require fees up front.
  • ask you to pay or wire money to a particular person.
  • aren’t registered with your State Attorney General’s office. Visit to find contact information for your state office.


That overpayment may be underhanded.

Let’s say you’re selling something online for $200, and the buyer sends a money order or check for $500. You’re asked to deposit the payment and wire back the difference. Your bank may accept the check at first, but it bounces sooner or later. And you’re out $300. The Better Business Bureau warns that fake checks can be used for any type of scam, so never write a check against a deposit until it clears.


 Spot the top 10 money stealing scams before they rob you blind.

1. Tech support scam

6. Lottery scam

2. IRS tax scam

7. Government grant scam

3. Debt collection scam

8. Advance fee loan scam

4. Sweepstakes or prize scam

9. Credit card scam

5. Work from home scam

10. Overpayment scam



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  • FC&A Staff Writer