The Scammers Are Not Victimizers

Should I Tell a Young Relative That Her Grandmother Tried to Swindle Me?

Dear friend,

I’m not a lawyer or a judge. I just know what a family member should do in this situation — and I hope you do too.

Your grandmother tried to swindle you out of your life savings. You have a great family, but they are not the kind to believe a fraudster. You think you’re a very close friend — and perhaps a confidant. You and your family should be able to count on each other. And believe me, this is a big deal.

In the past decade, our nation has seen a rash of scams perpetrated by people who appear to have access to your personal information and your hard-earned money. They operate under the guise of legitimate businesses, or they are “clients” of legitimate businesses. They even pose as representatives of legitimate organizations or charities. But in all cases, the perpetrators use your information to steal from you, often through identity theft or other scams. As you’ve probably heard, the victims are often elderly, and the losses can be high.

The perpetrators are not shy about describing themselves — usually with the colorful names of professional sports teams, celebrity endorsements, and other prominent people. That’s a good thing. They want the public to know that they are scammers. The public should know that scammers exist, and we should also be on alert to recognize the signs.

We’ve all heard the term “vendor fraud” before. Vandalism is a common example. People put down property that was paid for. Vandals aren’t the only bad guys. Criminals, too, engage in fraud — particularly when they are engaged in theft. And most victims aren’t aware that they have been scammed — that they are victims of a crime.

When a person is scammed, he is a victim, not a victimizer. When a victim falls for a scam, he is a victim, not a victimizer.

As a victim, of course, we have rights — including the right to be free from fraudulent and criminal behavior. That�

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