Scary Scams to Look Out for This Halloween

Dear friends,

We hope you’ve all been enjoying the beautiful fall weather! Who doesn’t love the fall? Apple picking or pumpkin picking with the family. Sipping on hot apple cider and eating cider donuts. Dressing up for Halloween or being spooked by all the scary ghouls trick or treating at your door.

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought it would be fitting to detail some scary scams that I’ve been seeing in the news lately. Because we handle and exchange sensitive personal information with our clients, we’re always on high alert for new scams and schemes that are targeted to hurt our clients and friends.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reviewed one such scheme deemed “Pig Butchering.” The scam hinges on a malefactor sending an unsolicited text message. The scammer pretends to have texted the wrong number but continues the conversation to build a rapport. Eventually, the scammer will try and casually convince the victim to feel comfortable and then to invest (or further invest) in cryptocurrency. One such victim invested thousands into an investment platform called after the link was shared with her by her new text buddy. The website then went dark and the victim lost her entire investment (about $1.6 million).

Reading this article reminded me of a few crucial points I like to remind my staff and clients of:

·       You should never give out your passwords or share them with anyone who requests it, especially your email password. (We will never ask you for this kind of information.)

·       Be wary of unsolicited or suspicious attachments or links. Even if the email or text appears to be from someone you know, that does not mean it always is. If you receive a message (even from what appears to be a known contact) that seems off or contains an unsolicited attachment or odd link, it is wise to check with the person (by phone or text) who supposedly sent the message to see if it’s legitimate. If it came from an unknown number or email address – it is extremely likely to be a scam or virus.

·       Trust your instincts when browsing your inboxes. Many times, a phishing message from a would-be scammer will contain multiple grammatical mistakes, a strange email address, or odd requests. These signs should set off alarm bells.

·       Whether you’re browsing the internet on your phone, or responding to emails, it’s important to trust your instincts and be aware of any anomalies not typically seen day-to-day. If something seems off, don’t ignore your instincts and delete the email.

·       Ignore texts you receive asking you mundane questions from phone numbers you do not recognize.

The AARP has good articles and links for how to report scams:

We hope this served as a helpful reminder about digital scams. I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween. If you would like to meet with our team to discuss your estate plan before the new year, please feel free to reach out to Chase at [email protected], or give our office a call at (617) 453-9001.