The police department investigates and is contacted about numerous scams that people are contacted about. There are various ways that people come in contact with those that are trying to scam people out of money or contact information. Email used to be the most common, but it seems that phone calls are being used more and more. Anytime you are contacted by email or phone, be wary of email addresses and phone numbers you do not recognize. Pay attention to the entire email address to ensure there are no misspellings or missing letters in the address. Phone numbers can now be “spoofed” or made to look like they are coming from a legitimate telephone number, but in reality they are only displaying that way. The actual caller is calling from a different location.
Email scams vary in scope as to what you might receive. They can be sent to business emails where the sender poses as a CEO or head of the company and asks for funds to be transferred to other accounts. There are still some that will advise that you have been found to be related to someone that is royalty in another country and as soon as you provide your bank account information you will receive a large sum of money. Other email scams will advise you that you won the lottery and you need to make a small payment to have funds sent to you. In each case be wary of the email address where the email is coming from. Often times there will be subtle differences in the email address to clue you in that it came from someone other than the person they want you to believe it came from. If you are related to royalty, often times you will already know it. As far as lotteries go, if you have not played or entered the lottery, you cannot win it.
Phone calls are becoming more common. I am sure you have received lots of phone calls either are home or on your cell phone. There are often times phone calls about extending your vehicle warranty or consolidating credit card debit. Be wary of such phone calls. Make sure that you are the one calling the companies directly prior to setting up these types services. You want to ensure that the person you are speaking with is going to follow through with promises that are being made. If you received a phone call from the IRS, this is more often then not a scam. The IRS will not make their first contact by phone. It will come by mail. The IRS will also not threaten you with jail and do not take payments with gift cards. Should you receive a phone call do not call the phone number they provide. Research the IRS phone number and call the number you know will reach the IRS, if you want to make sure you are not in default of payment to them. If someone calls stating they are from your bank and need information related to your account, end the conversation and call your bank yourself and speak with someone about your account.
- In all cases where you feel it might be a scam – it probably is.
- Do NOT provide your personal information in email or over the phone unless you know for sure the person you are speaking with is legitimate – make a phone call back to a number or an email address you call or type yourself.
- If the person contacting you tells you to use a money gram service or wants gift cards of any kind as payment – you are most often being scammed in some way.
- Contact your police department and let them know about the scam – especially if you are out money as a result.
- Check your credit information routinely – this can be done for free.
- Monitor your credit card and bank accounts each month at a minimum to ensure there are no questionable transactions.
- Speak with parents, grandparents and other family members about scams so that they can be educated about what is out there and what to avoid.