Ponzi Scheme

A “pyramid” investment scheme that involves promising or paying abnormally high returns (“profits”) to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from net revenues generated by any real business. Those at the top of the pyramid get rich at the expense of those at the bottom who lose everything.

Fake Government Examiner

This is a confidence scam in which the perpetrator impersonates a financial institution investigator pretending to need assistance in an investigation. In fact, these crooks are trying to obtain personal information, such as bank account numbers or social security numbers, to steal your money or identity.

Affinity Fraud

With this investment scam, a con artist targets members of a tight-knit group, religious or ethnic community, church or professional organization. The fraudster often pretends to be a member of the group and enlists respected leaders, such as a pastor, from within the group. These leaders then unwittingly help convince people that the con artist’s fraudulent investment – usually a Ponzi scheme – is legitimate and worthwhile.

Unsolicited Work

Trades people show up unannounced and convince the homeowner to let them perform work or repairs, such as a new roof, driveway or windows. In most cases, these crooks get a cash deposit to start the job, only to never be seen again. Or, once the work has been started, they claim there are “unforeseen problems” that require a lot more money than initially estimated.

Identity Theft

Guard your personal information against identity theft, a growing risk among seniors. Do no give out your social security or credit card numbers over the phone. Confirm balances and transactions on all statements monthly. To help spot unusual account activity, order a copy of your credit report.