Avoiding Scams and Fraudulent Requests

If someone calls or requests money – Beware!

At times, I have clients come to my office and tell me they have been scammed by mail, phone, or on-line—someone had asked them for money, but it turned out to be fake. These scams often target older adults, and they are becoming increasingly more common.

I know a man who received a call and was told he had won a Cadillac. All he had to do was send $5,000 and the car would be his. He sent the money, but he never saw the car. Later, he received another call from a law firm that said they were representing several individuals who had also been scammed by the person who scammed him. He was told that the law firm would help him recover his money if he would send a retainer to the law firm, which he did. He later found out that the alleged law firm was the same person who had scammed him on the Cadillac.

Recently, in our area, someone claiming to be the IRS called and requested individuals to pay back taxes immediately to avoid a costly court settlement. The IRS has said that they will NEVER contact you by phone about your taxes. Unfortunately, many people fell for this before the scam was exposed.

Remember, anyone asking for money or personal information must be completely vetted to know why they are requesting it. If you are contacted by phone, you simply need to reply that you don’t give that information out over the phone unless you have initiated the call. If you receive a request for your personal information by mail or email, don’t respond to it.

Regrettably, these con-artists get very good at convincing you to act. Remember, they get plenty of practice calling dozens of people a day; finding ways to convince people that they are legit and to send money to them immediately. Always check with a family member, trusted friend or an attorney before sending money or your personal information, to be sure that it is safe.

Please don’t let your hard-earned money get into the hands of someone who is deceiving you! It is better to be safe than sorry; it’s impossible to get money back. Included below is an article about Consumer Information from the Federal Trade Commission that will help you avoid the myriad of schemes that are out there.


Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.