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Reminder: Your Funds are Awaiting their Release

April 7, 2015

The latest text message scam is out, targeting victims to redeem their “free cash” and all you have to do is reply to the message. Seems legit, right?

Wrong. As our very own Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist and host of Unlock Your Wealth Radio, Heather Wagenhals, received a scam text this morning, urging her to claim her free cash. The text message came from the number: 1-857-214-7556 with a message that read:

Reminder: Your Funds are Awaiting their Release. Call (917) 633-5899 to claim your cash today.

As always Heather encourages everyone to use caution when opening unfamiliar text messages, emails or answering phone calls that sound too good to be true. To avoid falling victim to these types of scams, use the following advice, courtesy of NCOA.

RELATED: Fake IRS Callers Take $5 Million from Victims

1. Be aware of the risk from strangers—and those closest to you.

Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by the older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others.

2. Inform solicitors: “I never buy/give from anyone who calls or visits me unannounced.”

Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company and always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity.

Neighborhood children you know who are selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraising items may be an exception, but a good rule of thumb is to never donate if it requires you to write your credit card information on any forms.

3. Shred all accounts and receipts with your credit card number.

Identity theft is a huge business. To protect yourself, use a paper shredder at all times.

Monitor your bank and credit card statements and never give out personal information over the phone to someone who initiates the contact with you.

RELATED: Avoid Being Victim of Home Improvement Fraud

4. Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists.

Visit to stop telemarketers from contacting you.

Be careful with your mail. Do not let incoming mail sit in your mailbox for a long time. When sending out sensitive mail, consider dropping it off at a secure collection box or directly at the post

5. Never offer your credit card number, Medicare information, bank account numbers or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.

Misuse of Medicare dollars is one of the largest scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for services never delivered and selling unneeded devices or services to beneficiaries.

Protect your Medicare number as you do your credit card, banking, and Social Security numbers and do not allow anyone else to use it. Be wary of salespeople trying to sell you something they claim will be paid for by Medicare.

RELATED: How to Prevent Fraud with Heather Wagenhals

6. Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers.

Be an informed consumer. Take the time to call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may offer some perspective to help you make difficult decisions.

Also, carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make certain that all of your requirements have been put in writing. Understand all contract cancellation and refund terms.

As a general rule governing all of your interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours and yours alone.

Now, we want to hear from you! Would like to share your opinion or make a comment on the Unlock Your Wealth Radio Show? If so, then please leave your comment or questions in the space provided below and share this article with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Your comments or question could be chosen as our featured Money Question Monday and a phone call by financial expert Heather Wagenhals could dial your way to be live on the Unlock Your Wealth Radio Show.