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Harris-Courage & Grady, PLLC Feb. 20, 2016

Retirement is a time for relaxation. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people attempting to take advantage of seniors during their retirement. If you are retired, take extra care to ensure you don’t become a victim of financial fraud.

Here are three common financial scams that target retirees.

  1. Contractor Scams It’s likely that your home will need repairs during your retirement. Make sure that you choose to work with honest contractors. Contractor-scammers targeting seniors may suggest unnecessary repairs, then charge too much for the work they complete. They may also ask you to pay them before they do the work, and then disappear without completing it.

    Before you hire a contractor, ask friends or neighbors for referrals or check Better Business Bureau ratings. Be cautious to ensure that your home and your retirement savings stay safe.

  2. Reverse Mortgage Scams Most reverse mortgages are legitimate and they can be a great way to get equity out of your home. However, there are people who will try to scam seniors out of their homes. These people tell seniors they are offering a reverse mortgage, when in reality they are transferring ownership of the property away. Other scammers will complete the reverse mortgage, but simply charge exorbitant fees to do so. If you are interested in a reverse mortgage, the best place to start is your bank or a trustworthy mortgage broker.

  3. Investment ScamsExercise extreme caution while investing your savings during your retirement. There are many thieves offering “investment opportunities” that are just trying to get their hands on your money. If a deal is promising exceptionally good returns with no risk, it’s very likely a fraud. You should also be skeptical of pressure to decide immediately. If you can’t have time to research or ask a reputable investment professional, you should say no. Asking for details in writing or for time to consult with another professional advisor will commonly discourage scammers, who are looking for easy targets.

Be careful to protect your finances during your retirement. You want to ensure the money you’ve worked so hard for remains your own. By keeping alert, asking questions, and using reputable business people, you can avoid becoming the victim of a financial scam.