Real Life Retirement:  what real people are doing after age 55 


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nevada city california street scene

This photo gives you a glimpse of the main street in historic Nevada City, California. There are many activities and historic sites to see in this area.  Several stores in nearby Grass Valley have free wine tastings daily.

Traveling through the Gold Country in California can be fun and fascinating--but not if you fall prey to someone who is running a vacation rental scam.

 How to avoid vacation rental scams 

You love to travel and are looking for ways to do it inexpensively, so you look at online want ads or in newspapers for vacation rentals.  And there it is--what sounds like the ideal rental at the location you want and at a price that fits your budget.  It even shows photos of the exterior.  It all looks authentic.

What you may not realize at first is that the listing is a total fake designed to trick you out of an up-front payment...and a payment from everyone else who responds to the ad.  Worse yet, the fraudster's goal may be more than just getting money.  He or she may be out to steal your identity!

So how do you protect yourself?  If the ad includes an address, the first thing to do is go to Google Maps and enter the address.  You may instantly discover that there is no such address--it does not exist.  Or you may see a totally different house at that address.  Obviously either of these is a big red flag that tells you it is a scam. 

If, however, the photo matches the one in the ad,  your next step is to do a search of the name of the person who is supposedly renting the home.  It could be that the person running the ad is not the property owner or even authorized to rent the property.  If the person claims to be a real estate agent representing the owner, insist on getting the name of the company he/she works for.  Then do an agent search at that real estate company.

 Also do a search of any email addresses or phone numbers associated with the ad, then do a general search for the address on Google's main search page.  It may turn out that some fraudster is trying to rent a house that is actually listed for sale.  And certain phone numbers have been identified with scams and frauds and they will show up on your search results.  You may even find postings from other people who have been conned by the same person.

For vacation rentals I strongly advocate using reliable short term rental services like Air BnB or Roomarama.  They are very affordable and have rentals almost everywhere on the planet.

You can find out more information about how these services, and several others, work to protect you from scams, by going to this page.

A Real Life Retirement: 

This isn't exactly a real life retirement, but it is a true story.  Several years ago I was looking at photos on Google Images and noticed one I had taken of the Community Center in Sun City Summerlin in Las Vegas.  It's a distinctive building, which you can see here, if you like.

But when I clicked on the photo, I discovered that it was being used by someone as a "photo" of a resort in Africa!  My guess it that is was one of those Nigerian scammers, trying  to make money with a vacation scam.  The resort probably didn't even exist at all.

The moral to this story is that even authentic-looking websites may be fraudulent.

The bottom line, as you have heard time and again throughout your life: if it sounds too good to be true it is!

NOTE:  All names on this site have been changed to protect individual privacy.  The stories are real, the names are not. 

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