To avoid on line credit card fraud and not be a VICTIM of the "bad guys", you must be aware of the latest scams/frauds/crimes in our community. We read and hear about new frauds every day in the paper and on TV.

Because there are many seniors in our community, we are considered an easy touch for criminals. Some set up free lunch or dinner "educational" meetings at senior centers or places with seniors. Sometimes presenters do not disclose they are insurance salesman as the Insurance Code mandates. Their sole purpose is to sell their products to the unsuspecting seniors who are often not capable of making financial decisions.

One 90 year old Rancho Mirage woman was recently sold a 10 year Annuity that would last until she was 100. Her investments had been making 8% until she was convinced to convert all of it to an Annuity producing .06%. She was advised by doing this she could place her assets in a trust and thus not in her name. She could then qualify for "free money" from the government's Aid and Attendance because her husband was a VET. If this has happened to you or a friend call the Senior VET Hotline 760 837-7555.

Thieves target seniors via an online bank act fraud because it is easy to open online checking accounts since no ID is required at the time of opening. ID thieves have found this to be a fast and easy way of transferring money from drug deals or stolen checks by using many bank accounts previously opened in the victim's name.

The only thing the "bad guys" need is your name and SS number. Everything else they can manufacture with phony birthdates and license numbers. It is hard for banks to notice these inconsistencies upon a credit check.

The applicant is advised by the bank to stop by a local branch whenever they can, to verify who they are after an account is opened in the victim's name. New ATM debit cards are then used to remove money and the victim will never be the wiser... unless they happen to check their credit.

If this happens you must contact all the banks to be sure the accounts are closed. Then contact each credit agency (using the reporting info below) with a copy of the filed police report. You will have to prove who you are by submitting your Social Security, Utility bill and Driver's License.

To avoid this consider a private locked mail box and provide your bank with a password needed before any action. Check your credit report on a regular basis to be sure you are not a victim.

Other scams I have warned of in recent columns are:

Phone scammers; Pay Pal Spoofs; Tech support; New dog; Free Pizza; Mystery shopper; Vacation property; Elderly; Government imposter; Debt Relief; Package delivery; Health care coverage ID; Bogus Newspapers; Free Products; Ebola Charity; Lender; Utility and EZ Pass scams to name a few.

WARNING: Gangs and thieves are plotting ways to get a driver (mostly women) to stop their vehicle and get out of the car. One trick is to put an infant car seat with a blanket over it on the side of the road. When you stop you will be beaten, robbed and or possibly raped. Obviously this will not happen on El Paseo but with our dark desert there are many dangerous places. DO NOT STOP ...DIAL 911 AND REPORT THIS WITHOUT SLOWING DOWN. Justin Bieber is not the only person throwing eggs. If eggs hit your windshield

DO NOT STOP TO CHECK YOUR CAR, DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPERS AND DO NOT SPRAY ANY WATER BECAUSE EGGS MIXED WITH WATER BECOME MILKY, AND BLOCK YOUR VISION UP TO 92.5%, AND YOU ARE THEN FORCED TO STOP AND BECOME A VICTIM. Beware of a RED LIGHT on an unmarked car. Don't stop... call 911 and tell the police what you are doing and ask them to check if there is a patrol car in the area and if not to send back up.

PLEASE PASS ALONG this information TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY, IT CAN SAVE A LIFE....and your finances. Report FRAUD and potential ID thefts by contacting: Fraud alert hotline toll free 855 303 9470 or visit website Adult Protective Services, DPSS 760 773 6700


Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Hotline 877IDTheft/ Social Security hotline 800 269 0271/ Equifax: 800 525 6285/ Experian: 888 397 3742/ Transunion: 800 680 7289/

Keep the above numbers and information in a safe place just in case!