By Gary Meeks, RICP®

I have discussions all the time with clients about how to protect their money or investments. Often, these discussions are about principal protection offered by FDIC insurance, guarantees offered by insurance companies, corporations, the US government or bank guarantees. Today, I would like to talk to you about protecting yourself against scammers.

In 2020, phone scams accounted for $20 billion in losses. It’s estimated that only one in 44 scams are reported, so losses by the public due to scams is likely much higher. My parents, age 80, are constantly bombarded by phone, text and email scams. Studies show that the elderly are more vulnerable in part because they are sometimes lonely and are more likely to answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Here are some common scams and some tips to protect yourself.

Government Imposter Calls: As the name suggests, these scammers try to convince you that they represent a government agency, such as the social security administration, the IRS or Medicare. Your initial reaction may be “I must have done something wrong.” That’s exactly what the scammer wants. The caller will likely pressure you into providing personal information or bank information and urge you to do so immediately to correct the problem. They may even offer to give you an employee ID number to appear legitimate. This is almost certainly a scam. Government agencies rarely contact people by phone…

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