A New Scam, beware

Just when you thought you’d heard it all . . . .

This scam is actually very clever. This one could easily slip by most anyone – beware of people bearing gifts. The following is a recounting of the incident from the victim:

Wednesday a week ago, I had a phone call from someone saying that he was from some outfit called: “Express Couriers,”(The name could have been anything) he asked if I was going to be home because there was a package delivery for me that required a signature . The caller said that the delivery would arrive at my home in roughly an hour, and sure enough, about an hour later, a uniformed delivery man turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine.

I was very surprised since it did not involve any special occasion or holiday, and I certainly didn’t expect anything like it. Intrigued about who had sent me such a gift, I inquired as to who the sender was. The deliveryman’s reply was, he was only delivering the gift package, but allegedly a card was being sent separately… (the card has never arrived!)

There was also a consignment note with the gift. He then went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 “delivery verification charge,” providing proof that he had actually delivered the package to an adult of legal drinking age, and not just left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone, especially a minor.

This sounded logical and I offered to pay him cash. He then said that the delivery company required payment to be by credit or debit card only, so that everything is properly accounted for, and this would keep help in keeping a legal record of the transaction. He added couriers not needing to carry a bunch of cash, would make them less likely targets for robbery.

My husband, who by this time was standing beside me, pulled his wallet out of his pocket with the credit/debit card, and ‘John,’ the “delivery man,” asked my husband to swipe his card on a small mobile card machine. It had a small screen and keypad where Frank was also asked to enter the card’s PIN and security number. A receipt was printed out and given to us as our copy of the transaction. He then said everything was in order, and wished us good day.

To our horrible surprise, between Thursday and the following Monday, $4,000 had been charged/withdrawn from our credit/debit account at various ATM machines. It appeared that somehow the “mobile credit card machine,” which the deliveryman carried now had all the info necessary to create a “dummy” card with all our card details after my husband swiped our card and entered the requested PIN and security number.

Upon finding out about the illegal transactions on our card, we immediately notified the bank which issued us a new card, and our credit/debit account was closed.

We also personally went to the Police, where it was confirmed that it is definitely a scam because several households had been similarly hit.

WARNING: Be wary of accepting any “surprise gift or package,” which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift or package.

Also, never accept anything if you do not personally know or there is no proper identification of who the sender is.

Above all, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction! Pass this on, it may just prevent someone else from being swindled.


Is Your Teenager Ready To Leave Home?

Do you have a teenager in your house?   If the answer is yes, is he or she truly and fully prepared for living on his or her own and dealing with the financial situations with which they will be faced?  Think about it.  Does he already have a credit card?  Does he really understand how to use it wisely?  Is he living far away from you so that you can’t monitor his decisions?  All of these questions are only a part of what you and your teenager need to have answers for BEFORE he leaves home.  Do you know all the answers?

I have addressed all of the above questions as well as much more in my recent Kindle book, “My Money”, available on Amazon.com.  It is not expensive.  I priced it to be affordable for most parents as well as their teenagers.

Some of the topics covered for teenagers are:  What do you need for a place of your own, what information is required when hired, how to manage your income, what is Social Security and how it affects you, the Federal Income Tax, savings and why that is important,  budgeting and more, including retirement.  Yes, retirement is in your future and why it should be planned for in the present is necessary and wise.  Telephone numbers and/or online sites are provided for many Government services.

This little book is a guide line for every teenager, and their parents, to read before they leave home.  It makes for a helpful discussion between parents and children and you parents may even learn something you didn’t know.