How to Avoid Being Scammed pt 2

How to Avoid Being Scammed  a Guide for Women pt 2

As we discussed in the previous installment, criminals are endlessly inventing new ways to part you from your money. And they do not discriminate based on age, gender or social status. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was recently scammed. And I personally know of a Wall Street legend who was also recently scammed. 

Scammers are cunning and they have ruthlessly developed formulas for scamming because they work. 

The random call scam

Scammers use random calls because they work. They can spoof the number of the FBI, IRS, your local police station and others. Perhaps you answer and they tell you that your child or grandchild was in an accident or committed a crime (or they claim to be that child). They tell you that you need to send money for bail or for the hospital. They may know your child’s name, their girlfriend and a lot of other information because they can find it on your social media. And this type of thing happens every single day. 

There was a recent story in the Wall Street Journal about a nurse who was scammed out of $340,000. This is basically what happened.

  • She received a call from someone identifying himself as an “FBI” agent.
  • He told her that her identity had been stolen and used to commit crimes. He told her that if she didn’t do exactly as he said, files would be charged against her and she would go to jail.
  • He told her to leave work and go to a hotel. He told her to send him her receipts for the hotel and food, as they would be reimbursed by the government.
  • He kept her on the phone for hours at a time and told her if she let her family or friends know what was going on, she might be guilty of another crime.
  • He said she needed to move her assets to “FBI” accounts in order to protect them from the identity thieves.
  • Over the course of a few days, she transferred more than $340,000 from her accounts to the “agent.” 

In general, these types of scams play upon your fears and make you afraid not to comply. And while banks, especially those holding retirement accounts, typically ask a number of questions to try to determine if something fraudulent is going on, these callers know how to coach you through answering those questions.  

In another recent scam, a woman received a phone call from someone saying they had her daughter and that if she hung up, the daughter would be killed. The caller kept her on the phone for hours going from bank to bank and sending money, until a few hours later her daughter texted her about something and she realized the caller was a scammer. Of course, by then it was too late. 

The business email scams

In these types of scams, the perpetrators “spoof” an email address that you recognize, so you receive an email that you think is from your boss, another company executive, or some other important person asking you to do something that may or may not be out of the ordinary.

One woman received an email she thought was from her boss asking her to buy gift cards for everyone in the company as Christmas gifts. The email told her to send the gift card numbers and pins to the boss when the task was complete. She did so and the scammers got away with more than $10,000. And the worst part is that her company is saying she’s liable for the loss, as she put it on a corporate card. 

In a similar incident, a Wall Street Legend’s employee received an email he thought was from the boss’s wife asking for a significant wire transfer to an art dealer’s account in order to buy her husband a painting for his upcoming birthday. Naturally, she asked for the information to be kept secret. In this instance, the “wife” actually emailed a few times to say the transfer hadn’t come through and could it be sent again either way, as she had now found a more expensive painting to buy. These scammers got away with more than $300,000. 

Helpful tips

In order to try to avoid falling prey to these and other scams, here are some tips that may be helpful.

  1. Remember that the FBI and police will generally not call you. They will come to your home or place of business.
  2. Do not stay on the phone for an extended amount of time. Ask for a number where you can call the person back and then try to verify if what they are saying is true (call the FBI or your daughter).
  3. Do not underestimate the amount of detailed information scammers may have.
  4. Check to make sure any email with instructions about money is truly coming from the person you think it is from. Double check the address or call them/email them from a new email to be sure it’s legitimate.
  5. Verbally or in person confirm instructions given by a boss, vendor or someone else with regard to money, property or payments. 

Gasber Financial is dedicated to helping you keep your assets safe. You can always call us with any suspicions you may have. In our next installment, we’ll discuss tax and investment scams and tips for avoiding them.

How to Avoid Being Scammed pt 1

How to Avoid Being Scammed  a Guide for Women - pt 1 

There is no end to the number of ways criminals will try to part you from your money. And while most of us would like to believe that it can’t happen to us, it can. From doctors and lawyers to Wall Street legends, extremely wealthy businessmen and even famed conmen, anyone at any age can be scammed under the right circumstances.

One type of scam that is growing in popularity, and is particularly useful on women, is the romance scam. According to the Federal Trade Commission, victims reported losing more than $210 million in 2019* to these types of scams. In fact, the FTC says these types of scams result in more losses than any other types of scams. 

Here’s how it can work:

  1. You meet someone online through a dating site
  2. You start texting and maybe talking over the phone, but there is always a reason why they cannot meet you in person and may not even be able to FaceTime with you
  3. They tell you they love you and you are the one for them—they may even talk of marriage. BUT, they can’t marry you, be with you, or meet you live until they do something else that requires money [need to pay off a debt/start a new business/finish a new investment]
  4. It’s all very convincing—they want to live with you/marry you/be with you after all, so perhaps you send them the money
  5. Some of them may keep you on the line, trying to get more and more money from you, while others may immediately ghost you and delete their accounts. Either way, no relationship will ever truly come from it and you will not get your money back. 

Too good to be true?

Another, newer romance scam revolves around sites designed to help you find or become a sugar daddy or momma. Perhaps you’re thinking, how will I get scammed if they’re going to be paying my bills? But that’s precisely how they get you: 

  1. You develop a relationship with someone online and either they agree to pay your bills or to pay you for your company.
  2. Naturally, they will ask for the credit card information in order to pay it off or they’ll ask for your banking information in order to make a deposit into your account.
  3. Once they have this information, they can access your credit and bank accounts at will. 

It’s worth noting that this type of scam can work even if you are the one willing to pay the bills. The other party may simply say they need your banking information in order to let the credit card company, or whomever it is, know where the payment or deposit will be coming from.

 Helpful tips

In order to try to avoid falling prey to these and other scams, here are some tips that may be helpful.

  1. Always be cautious about people you meet online, trust your instincts and take it slow
  2. Never give your financial information to anyone you have not met face to face
  3. Report anyone you meet online who asks you to send them money to the appropriate site’s administrators

Gasber Financial is dedicated to helping you keep your assets safe. In our next installment, we’ll discuss other popular scams and tips for avoiding them.

 

*https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/looking-love-online-romance-scammers-steal-your-heart-steal-your-ncna1135766

 

The “Desire-ment” years—redefining retirement pt2

The “Desire-ment” years—redefining retirement pt2

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “retirement?” Do you envision an older couple in a rowboat on a lake? You may not be far off from the original definition. Consider that the word “retire” actually means to withdraw for privacy, go to bed, withdraw from danger and, of course, to stop working. 

But, what does retirement mean to you? Chances are it’s something quite different than it meant to your parents. In the first installment, we discussed how to envision your retirement. In this one, we’ll provide a few practical ideas for making it the retirement of your dreams, no matter what that means. 

The “Gig” economy

Many people start new careers or new businesses in retirement, while others continue to work in their original job, expand their volunteering—or any number of other things. There are actually many ways to earn money during retirement, while also keeping your mind and brain active. Today there is a thriving “Gig economy” where women can create great income streams on a freelance basis and have fun. Some ideas include being a: 

  • Tour guide
  • Temp or a tutor
  • Market researcher or mystery shopper
  • A babysitter, pet sitter or dog walker
  • AirBNB host
  • Consultant or direct salesperson
  • Virtual assistant or transcriptionist
  • Teacher at your local community center 

Some great sites for finding gigs include fiverr.com, behance.net, Guru.com, freelancer.com. You can also look for full time employment through sites designed explicitly for seniors, like Workforce50.com, retiredbrains.com, Seniors4Hire.com and RetireeWorkforce.com, to name a few.

 Continuing your education

Retirement can also be a great time to consider going back to school, whether you just want to take a few classes here and there or to finally get that degree you’ve wanted. My aunt was taking online classes to finish her master’s degree at age 80, which just proves you are never too old to challenge your mind or work toward a goal. Of course, education can be expensive, so you will likely need a strategy to pay for it. You may qualify for scholarships (look at scholarships.com, fastweb.com, return2college.com and others) or even a student loan (check out studentloanhero.com), but there are other ways to pay for it too. Gasber Financial can help you to develop the right strategy for you.

 Make your move

Retirement can be an opportune time to move, whether you’re interested in cutting down on your maintenance costs, moving to a warmer climate or just want a change of scenery. Of course, if you are going to move, you should consider things like where you may be able to live most affordably, where you can avoid state income taxes (yes, you will likely still pay income taxes in retirement), or maybe just the best overall places to live in retirement.

 

Cheapest states to live in retirement*

States without income taxes

Best overall places to live in retirement**

1.       Pennsylvania

2.       South Dakota

3.      Idaho

4.      South Carolina

5.      Georgia

6.      Missouri

7.      Ohio

8.      Iowa

9.      Tennessee

10.   Alabama

 

1.       Alaska

2.       Florida

3.      Nevada

4.      South Dakota

5.      Texas

6.      Washington

7.      Wyoming

1.       Asheville, North Carolina

2.       Athens, Georgia

3.      Bella Vista, Arkansas

4.      Bluffton, South Carolina

5.      Boone, North Carolina

6.      Colorado Springs, Colorado

7.      Columbia, Missouri

8.      Fargo, North Dakota

9.      Green Valley, Arizona

10.   Iowa City, Iowa

 

 

 

At Gasber Financial, we believe strongly in the power of planning and positive thinking. We can help you review your plan for the retirement of your dreams—whatever that means to you.

 

*https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/retirement/T006-S001-cheapest-states-where-you-ll-want-to-retire-2018/index.html

 

 

The "Desire-ment" Years

The “Desire-ment” years—Redefining Retirement pt 1 

To many, retirement means getting put out to pasture to live the rest of your days in peace. This isn’t surprising, as the word “retire” can have negative connotations, like when it pertains to retiring a piece of equipment because it’s old and no longer useful. And we can sometimes think of people this way too. Yikes! I think we need to redefine it, since this doesn’t seem to be what retirement means to most people today. 

Personally, I think we should call it “desirement,” because it should be about getting to do the things you really want to do. And for most of us that simply doesn’t mean endless rounds of golf, gardening, or doing any particular thing all day, every day. How boring would that be?

Designing your day

To get a true idea of what your days will look like, consider: 

Will you still work? If so, will you stay in your career or try a new job (see the next installment)? Take some time to imagine how you might feel if you were not doing your current career anymore. How tied to your career is your identity? Will you be happy if you are not doing that job anymore? It’s important to consider these things to help ensure you will truly be happy in retirement. 

Now, if you will be going from full-time work to part-time, or to not working at all, consider how you will spend the rest of your time each day. If you dream of gardening, horseback riding, knitting, reading or other things, try to be realistic about how much time you will truly want to spend doing these things each day. It may not be as much as you think, so you will want to consider what else you will do each day. 

If you plan to volunteer, consider which groups you will want to volunteer with and how much time you plan to volunteer each week or month. 

Will you work out? If you worked out near your place of business, will you still go to that gym or will you need to find a new one? In fact, if you do a lot of things near your job, like shopping, socializing and more, you may want to think about where you will do things once you retire. You may no longer be willing to commute to do these things. And, if there are no facilities near you, or if you feel your home will be too remote once you retire, you may want to consider moving. 

Another thing to consider is who you will socialize with. Where do your friends and family live? Are they close to you or far away? If you are going to be home more, perhaps you want to consider a community that is designed to be more social. 

Getting support

If it seems overwhelming to think about, a great way to gain support is to find a lean-in circle, as these groups are designed to help women encourage and support each other, rather than compete.  Inspired by the book, Lean In, written by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, they:

  • Are often small groups of 8-12 members at a similar stage in life or with shared goals
  • Meet monthly in informal settings to learn together and share information and experiences
  • Have been highly successful at helping women take the next steps in their lives

You can learn more at leanin.org. 

Gasber Financial can help you not only to define and envision the retirement of your dreams, but also to help ensure that your finances stay on track so you can make your dreams a reality.

Honoring Womens History Month

Women Helping Women

Honoring Women’s History Month 

In honor of women’s history month and International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate some of the strides women have made over the past several decades. Although we’re still waiting for equal representation in government (among other things), women have done some pretty amazing things. And one of the first is that we earn more college degrees than men—60% of all degrees in the U.S. in fact.1 

 

Bringing home the bacon 

We’re still waiting for equal pay, but we’ve been making strides at work, earning higher salaries and better positions than they have in the past.

  • In the U.S., more than 25% of married, heterosexual women earn more than their husbands. 2
  • As of June 1, 2019, 33 of the Fortune 500 companies are led by women. While that’s still a small percentage, it represents a significant step forward and a nearly 30% increase from the previous year.
  • As of 2019, women now hold more than 20% of board positions in the top 3,000 publicly traded companies. 4

 

Taking care of business

 Women also tend to make great business owners—employing millions of Americans and generating more revenue by far.

  • Women own 40% of U.S. businesses (that’s 12.3 million)—and they generate nearly $2 trillion a year in revenue5
  • Between 1997 and 2017, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. increased by114%, while the growth rate for all companies was 44%.6
  • As of 2018, women-owned businesses were responsible for the employment of 9.2 million Americans. What’s more, although employment for all firms declined by 0.8% between 2007 and 2018, it rose by 21% for women-owned firms. 6
  • Women-owned businesses tend to deliver more than double the revenue of companies established by men. 5

 

 Financially independent 

And according to Suze Orman, women are more financially independent than men for a number of reasons as well, including:

  • Single women spend less than single men, as they focus more on day-to-day expenses and more aggressively paying down debt7
  • Women know they have to work harder because of the pay gap—so they do7
  • Women try to take the right risks7 

Women have done a number of other amazing things, including inventing white out, disposable diapers and the dishwasher.1 Gasber Financial is proud to help wonderful women like you to achieve and maintain their financial independence, enabling you to plan for the future of your dreams.

 

 

1 https://nationaltoday.com/international-womens-day/

2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancabarratt/2019/09/24/becoming-the-primary-earner-female-breadwinners-share-their-advice/#4c8956ee5910

3 https://fortune.com/2019/05/16/fortune-500-female-ceos/

4 https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2019/09/womens-representation-on-boards-reaches-a.html?page=all

5 https://www.fundera.com/resources/women-owned-business-statistics

6https://medium.com/small-business-big-world/celebrating-achievements-of-women-business-owners-and-entrepreneurs-942aeb35367c

7 https://www.hermoney.com/earn/careers/women-more-financially-independent-than-men/