Scenario 1: Ring, Ring goes your telephone. “You’ve won the lottery! We just need you to pay for shipping, custom duties, insurance or taxes and then we’ll send your check!”

Scenario 2: Buzz, Buzz! “This is the IRS and if you don’t pay your back taxes promptly, we’ll have you and your spouse (if you’re married) arrested.”

Scenario 3: Ring-a-ling! “Hi, this is Macs with technical support calling from Hewlett Packard. We see that there has been a virus or malware detected, and your computer is being hacked.” You give them a few minutes and Macs (spelled as scam backwards) comes back with, “Oh, we’ve checked, and things are flowing smoothly on your device now. To prevent this from happening again, please buy these packages to protect you from future hackers.”

Too many scenarios (if only they were this honest): Ringgg! It’s a fraudulent Medicare representative… I really like the way our online relationship is going and want to see you in person, but I am having these financial problems… I am a Social Security agent impostor calling… This is a fake charity… This is a funeral home and while we know you’re grieving because we looked up your information after reading an obituary, we want to take advantage of your vulnerability to let you know that your loved one owes an outstanding balance that you need to pay immediately… This is your grandson and please don’t tell Mom and Dad, but I need help getting out of a jam and I promise to pay you back. Western Union will be the best way to get it to me. You’re the best!

People who are 50 and older are targets for financial abuse because they are thought to be naïve. Some scammers think that this population may not pay attention to details or won’t know how to use technology efficiently enough to spot a scam. But you can take control! If there’s a “gift” for you, just hang up, find the official number, and call back to find out about it. Don’t give your information out to strangers calling, emailing, texting, or using whatever method they can to get to you and your finances. Your social security number, bank account numbers, and any other private information is not to be given out, even if it sounds like the nicest person asking for it. Be safe!