Diana Clement: Watch out! Someone is after your money

Who is after your money? Humans and money are easily parted and sadly we’re living in a world where individuals and organisations with nefarious intentions part people from their money.

You have no doubt worked very hard for that money, so do yourself some favours and look after it. Here’s who might be after it:

Salespeople

Selling is a bit of a dark art. Beware of the persuasive tactics used by good salespeople. They will try to identify a need in you for whatever they’re selling, then present solutions to your problem, that you might not have known you had. They’re trained in handling objections and then closing the deal. Watch out for commission salespeople. The more they sell the greater the commission and it’s natural to want to maximise those sales whether or not the person wants the item in question. Sometimes they can go too far. A situation that happened recently in my circle involved a friend’s father, who had been snared by a salesperson intent on selling him a property. The father quite clearly had dementia, but the salesperson attempted to ignore this. It’s a fine line because older people have the right to do what they want with their money. But the salesperson’s ethics left a little to be desired.

Investment touts

New-fangled investments or those where you’re encouraged to invest large sums are often touted by dubious salespeople or scammers. Pouring your money into fringe investments often means short-term wins and long-term pain. I’m quite suspicious about the bitcoin fad despite having owned a small sum for a number of years. It’s just as risky for newbies as foreign exchange, derivatives or other fringe investments. Fewer people do well out of these than claim to.

Family

Sadly, family members are sometimes the worst perpetrators when it comes to getting their hands on your money. Your children are your own fault, as one personal finance writer I know says often. At some point you may have to cut the financial umbilical cord by learning the word “no”. Partners grow up with different family cultures. It’s an issue if you can’t both stick to a joint budget. Then as you age your children can come back to bite again. Some feel entitled to mum and dad’s money. They may ask for loans, or when it gets to elder abuse level, simply move in and/or help themselves to money. It’s more likely to be family than carers who commit financial elder abuse.

Scammers and hackers

The array of ways scammers and hackers can steal your money grows by the day. It allegedly took one person clicking on an email attachment to give access to the Waikato DHB’s entire IT system. A hacker can take your computer down and demand a ransom or sit on your computer for the time it takes to discover all your banking passwords. Cyber criminals regularly intercept large invoices to business and individuals, and redirect payments to their bank accounts. Change your passwords today and regularly, ensure your antivirus/security software is up-to-date on your phone and computer, avoid clicking on links in emails no matter how innocuous they look, and to always phone an organisation to double check the bank account details before making large payments.

Lovers

We’ve all seen the couples where most likely they’re only together because of money. Quite frankly it’s usually an aesthetically challenged older male with a younger woman, although that’s not always the case. This dynamic has been around long enough to be wary of. It’s hard to see on the surface what the attraction might be other than money on one side and looks on the other. There are plenty of examples. Just look at Donald and Melania Trump.

Remember, whatever the demand on your money, if it’s too good to be true in any way, or you have your doubts about the person, just say “no”.

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