Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Thu, April 18

Volpe: Are you too hung up on not hanging up?

It’s difficult to believe, with all the information available, but people are still getting scammed.

Most senior citizens are friendly, courteous and receptive to warm conversation. For these reasons many of them are preyed daily on by swindlers. These leeches solicit senior citizens because they believe they are beginning to lose their faculties, or have lost their spouse and are just plain lonely.

In the U.S., approximately 43 percent of people say they are lonely. Loneliness heightens the risks of depression, cardiovascular disease and dementia. Heavy users of social media are at the greatest risk.

Dr. Phil has televised programs about scams for years, some “I’ve fallen in love stories.” Victims actually say they have fallen in love with someone they have never met, that they are unconditionally in love with the person with whom they have been communicating. Their family is unable to convince them otherwise.

Calls to seniors that yank on your heartstrings and emotions are the most devastating. Dr. Phil has proven that the man you met on a social or dating site, phoning trying to deceive you into falling in love with him, is generally a man from Nigeria, trying to steal your heart, money and property. These swindlers don’t even write or speak English very well.

The person victims claim to love is always in need of money. These victims send their supposed new loved ones the money they need time and time again. Some have tapped out their savings, retirement accounts, even sold their homes to accommodate their new loved ones, and are now homeless. These victims have sent their new loved ones $10,000 to $500,000 to $1.2 million.

Don’t be conned by these lowlifes claiming to be your lover or soulmate. They are nothing but leeches attempting to suck the life out of you. They seek marriage, “green cards” and your total assets. Some victims are even under criminal investigation because they were duped into laundering money for their supposed loved ones. Last week an elderly woman from Mesa was defrauded out of “TWO MILLION DOLLARS.”

Dr. Phil has also proven that the young man claiming to be your grandson who was in an accident and needs money for a lawyer, is a teenaged moron in a tent in Africa trying to deceive you out of your hard-earned money.

Scammers use robots; BOTS are equipped to place millions of calls per day. Do not give these scammers or hunks of metal even one second of your time. You must not equate these BOT calls, which are programs designed to mimic the human voice, as humans. They are computerized machines without a heart, designed to make as many random calls as possible, while trying to extract as much money from you as possible. Some BOTS even use your name to throw you off balance. “JUST HANG UP.” Never call them back. Remember, their initial call was random; if you call back they will capture your actual number.

Computer scams, via phone, emails, popups or taking over your screen, attempt to con you by saying: Your programs crashed or your computer is operating too slowly. These fraudulent contacts, are intended to gain access to your personal information. If you allow these con men to take over your computer, you have given them access to your entire life: family history, medical and financial records, Social Security number, credit card numbers, retirement accounts, and passwords. Do not open emails, click on popups, or respond to screen take-overs. “Just Log Off and Restart.” Over the past year I have received 11 calls of this nature.

Do your homework, Google them. There are many links that describe the many different types of scams. You must research them and become knowledgeable. If you don’t and are scammed, it’s no one’s fault but your own.

If you think you are being scammed, you should not feel stupid or embarrassed to ask your family for help and advice. Getting scammed is not a matter of intelligence; it’s a matter of criminals taking control of your emotions. You may file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center at (ic3.gov).

Log off social media. Opt for face to face time, not Facebook time. Go join a church, club or volunteer at a charity. Get out and meet local people; they will love you for who you are, not your assets, and you will love them back.

Ciao for now, J.J.

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