Top Summer Travel Scams

As you look forward to a summer getaway, watch out for these common scams: Tricky tickets: Received a letter promising free or steeply discounted airline or cruise tickets? Read the small print – and between the lines – for words such as “eligible” and “guaranteed to win.” These mailers are often sent by vacation clubs as a lure to attend a high-pressure sales presentation where you’re promised huge travel discounts. The hook: You join by paying upfront fees that could approach five figures …

How to Keep Peace at Family Gatherings

We’re all familiar with the scene, especially after the Passover and Easter holidays. The extended family sits down to dinner and a grandchild starts whining that he’s not hungry or eats the mashed potatoes with her hands or takes a dive under the table. As grandparents, we’re tempted to take charge and correct the behavior, but the wisest among us won’t say a word. Still, we don’t have to feel relegated to watching the gathering descend into chaos, says Melinda Blau, …

Inside the Grandparents Scam: A Con Artist Reveals All

Donald and Ola Mae got scammed doing what any grandparent would do. Peter got them because he knew that love, indeed, conquers all. The secret to Peter’s success, like that of any scammer, was to get Donald and Ola Mae to think with their hearts instead of their heads - to get them “under the ether,” as it is called. Think with your emotions and you don’t think rationally, and that’s what turns targets into victims. That’s why the Grandparents Scam …

Grandmas Stay Sharp by Babysitting – But Don’t Overdo It

Babysitting the grandkids can help boost Grandma’s brainpower, but doing it too much may have the opposite effect – possibly because Grandma is feeling resentful, new research finds. The study of 120 Australian grandmothers, ages 57 to 68, wanted to determine whether minding grandchildren played a role in helping postmenopausal women stay sharp as they aged. Previous research had shown that staying involved in social activities with friends or relatives helps improve cognitive function in older adults. >> Sign up …

Fear Is Back! Jury Duty, Other Intimidation Scams Return

As the forecast faithful can verify, March certainly came in like a lion. But out like a lamb? Scammers continue to be anything but sheepish in trying to steal your money and identity. Witness the recent return of the jury duty scam. That’s when fraudsters, posing as courthouse officials or police, telephone with claims you missed jury duty. Because of that, they threaten, you’re going to be arrested unless a fine is immediately paid – sometimes requested by credit card, but usually a …

Grandma Betty: Why ‘Cute’ Can’t Capture It

Let me first say I love what’s going on with Grandma Betty, the Indiana octogenarian turned Instagram star. When Betty was diagnosed with terminal cancer, her great-grandson Zach opened an account (@grandmabetty33) to chronicle her journey. More than 309,000 followers later, what started as a project for friends and family has turned into a worldwide sensation. I just love that the bond between a great-grandmother and her teenage great-grandson, more than 60 years her junior, has inspired an outpouring of …