It’s a long and ugly story, but I recently learned that scammers defrauded a client out of a LOT of money. It started with a phone call “from” Amazon about a “fraudulent charge,” and ended with identity theft.
The worst part is that they convinced her that if she told anyone about the “investigation,” she risked losing her home, frightening her into concealing the fraud from her family and the FBI for months.
I’m sharing this heartbreaking story (with her permission) because awareness is your best protection, and there ARE simple steps you can take to be safer:
- If you get a call, text, or email claiming to be from (for example) your bank, Amazon, Apple, Zelle, etc., DO NOT RESPOND using information THEY provide. Use the phone number on your card or statement to contact them, or go to their app/website yourself.*
- Enable call filtering on your phone lines. It’s available through your carrier for most types of phone numbers, cell and home, EXCEPT old fashioned copper-wired landlines. It’s not perfect, but it blocks a lot of junk calls.
- We’re all entitled to a free credit report from each of the big three credit bureaus once a year; a quick look at them can help avoid a lot of grief. Here’s the correct site to get yours; be wary of services that want to charge you for this which may appear at the top of your search results, as this Washington Post columnist found.
And don’t forget that you can always ask us if you’re unsure.
A comedian once described home as “the place you keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” The monumental task of keeping track of all that stuff (especially if you’re moving, or assigning heirs), is much easier with an app like Under My Roof (subscription, Apple devices only). It lets you capture and manage the info and images for your furniture, art, electronics, etc. in one place.
- A friend with mobility issues recommends Kyte, a rental car company that brings the car to your door.
- Those baby blue Teslas Model Y’s you see around town are from Revel, a Brooklyn-based green rideshare and EV charging company. Pricing is comparable to Uber and Lyft. The Points Guy gave them a great review.
Farewell, Netflix discs . . .
*If you’re a Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me fan–I was amazed to read on Twitter that even Peter Sagal didn’t know this and nearly fell for one of these scams!