Gift Cards: A New Kind of Scam
Gift cards; while they are a great means of acknowledging someone's birthday, anniversary, or simply to say "thank you," they are also rapidly becoming a means for con artists to scam unsuspecting individuals, especially seniors.
The Scenario: You receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They say that you owe hundreds or even thousands in back taxes. However they claim to have a solution for you to avoid penalties or even jail time. All you have to do is put 'X' amount of money onto a gift card (such as iTunes or Google Play), read the code on the cards to them over the phone, and they will accept payment that way. You hang up the phone thinking that you have dodged a bullet, but in reality you have just been scammed out of money, as there is little to no way to trace the cards or to retrieve the money.
Gift cards are a perfect means for conning unsuspecting people as they are nearly untraceable, instantly redeemable, and are more easily transferable than cash. If you receive a call similar to this, when in doubt, one thing to remember is that gift cards cannot and will not be used by government officials to pay off taxes, fines, or bail.
For more on how fraudsters are using gift cards to scam people, check out these two articles from AARP:
- How Gift Card Scams Are Used to Finance Fraud
- This article describes this growing trend, including a real scenario in which someone was nearly conned.
- Gift Card Scams
- This article talks about how scammers are infiltrating retail stores where gift cards are sold and also provides warning signs along with do's and don'ts that you should adhere to, to avoid potential scams.
Scammers are becoming more creative and nothing is off limits to them. If you have further questions about how to make sure you or a senior family member is not being taken advantage of, contact a Foster Swift elder law attorney.
Due to the shock of the death of a spouse or a loved one, the steps of what needs to be done first can be an overwhelming process for the survivor(s). To aid in the breakdown and to act as a tool amidst the emotional days ahead, estate planning Jonathan "Jay" David has assembled a "Survivor's Checklist" of some of the important things that need to be addressed when a spouse or loved one dies.
COVID-19 Checklist & Elder Organizer Tool
For adult children responsible for their elderly parents and other senior caretakers concerned about protecting loved ones as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, below is a free downloadable checklist of steps to follow to prepare for any possible COVID-19-related illnesses among the most-vulnerable.
Foster Swift has created a free ‘Elder Organizer’ digital notebook to provide seniors and their caretakers with a toolkit that helps organize doctors’ appointments, medications, and more that can be shared online. The tools below are also available on the Elder Law Resources page.
*For those trying to access these links by smartphone, it is best practice to copy/open the link in a separate tab and download the free Google Sheets app from Google Play or the Apple Store.
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E-book Covers Estate Planning Essentials
Engaging in estate planning, while essential, is often emotional and generates many questions. How do I protect my spouse and my children if something happens to me? What happens if I become disabled before I pass on? Who will take care of my pet after I'm gone? How do I pass my business on to my children? These questions and more are addressed in Jonathan David’s recently updated e-book, “Estate Planning: You Have to Start in Order to Finish.”
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