You’ve probably heard the rumors.
There’s a shadow organization pulling the strings of Money & Crisis… deciding every piece of content we run… and guiding us toward the urgent financial issues we need to address ASAP.
Well, it’s true.
This is the way we’ve operated since Day One. And sitting at the head of the shadow council is…
That’s right. Your emails, your thoughts and your ideas are the guiding force behind the Money & Crisis movement.
Without you, we simply couldn’t do it.
So email me and let me know if there’s a crisis that you need help with ASAP. I want to know what you’re most worried about, financial or otherwise.
I don’t always have time to answer every single email. But rest assured, I read each one. And I’ll feature the best ideas and most urgent requests right here in the Money & Crisis mailbag.
In this week’s mailbag, we’re looking at a new form of scam that uses your own kids and grandkids against you. But first up is some quick advice from reader Paul W. on backing up your financial documents in case of a document-destroying disaster like a flood, hurricane or earthquake.
Back up Your Backups
[As well as storing financial documents in a watertight safe] it can be immensely useful to create an electronic scan of all documents and store the data safely on one or more encrypted USB drives.
Although these digital copies might not be acceptable on their own, they can help during the restoration process by showing the original text and therefore validate a successful restoration.
I am aware of one case where the word “not” at the end of a sentence was smudged out by the restoration process and it changed the entire meaning of the document. A comparison with a scanned copy of the original was able to prevent a legal challenge to the document by showing clearly how the document looked pre-flood.
I keep such a USB drive in my “go kit” so there is at least some form of my important documents with me when I deploy or evacuate.
— Paul W.
Great suggestion, Paul.
Personally, I use an encrypted USB drive called the IronKey. It’s light and easy to use and takes up very little space.
It’s not 100% waterproof. But its epoxy seal will keep it waterproof up to four feet deep. Which means heavy rain or wading through flood water shouldn’t present any problems.
Put copies of your driver’s license, passport, bank accounts, stock accounts and other important information on this drive.
When the “Grandkids” Come Callin’…
Two days ago, I received a call from someone claiming to be my grandson Johnny.
He said he was in custody because an open liquor bottle had been found in the car he was driving. While he hadn’t been drinking, he was being charged because he was the driver.
Even though it wasn’t his fault, the “police” said they’d have to charge him unless I posted an $8,000 bond. They might as well have been asking for $8 million.
I told him honestly that I might scrape up a couple of hundred dollars and he said he would have his lawyer call me.
I waited for the lawyer to call… but this morning the real Johnny called me. He knew nothing about the prior calls, had not been arrested and was just fine. Thank God!
But if I had had $8,000 that day, I’d now be out $8,000. They just picked the wrong pigeon. Now Johnny and I are developing a code, a couple of questions he’d know the answers to and no one else was likely to know.
— Amy D.
Frist of all, don’t feel bad for almost falling for this ruse, Amy.
These phone scams are getting more and more sophisticated every day. In fact, I almost fell for one myself last Wednesday.
While at work, I got a call from someone claiming to be an assistant district attorney. He said that I was scheduled to appear in court for not paying my parking tickets and this was my last chance to pay the fine… or risk going to jail.
Now, he made a couple of mistakes. He got my name slightly wrong and he couldn’t tell me my license plate number (and I haven’t gotten a single parking ticket in the last 10 years). But other than that, he sounded educated and totally professional — I reckon he probably picked up a few things watching Law & Order.
I could easily see how someone could be taken in by a scam like this.
Remember, NEVER give anyone who calls you your credit card number or more details about yourself than they already know (Social Security, license plate number, etc.).
Tell them you’d be happy to pay the money you owe and that you’ll call back in 10 minutes with your credit card.
Write down their name, number and department. But instead of calling the number they give you, Google the phone number for your district court (for alleged fines), the police department (for fake cops) or wherever they claimed to be calling from.
Ask if there are any fines that you owe on file and if you could talk to the person who called you. Often, they will use real names of actual public officials, just in case you Google them.
This is what happened to me last week. But when I got through to the assistant DA in question, he had never heard of me.
Stay sharp. And never believe someone on the phone just because they claim to be someone important who is trying to help you.
Editor’s note: Jim Rickards’ new book on the coming financial crisis reveals one of the biggest threats to your wealth today… and shows you the simple steps you can take to protect your money and your family. For a limited time he’s giving away hardback copies to readers of Money & Crisis. Claim your free copy today.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis