The Decatur Police Department on Tuesday issued this press release with information on the latest scams and tips on how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim:
Scams, from texts to calls, are ever evolving.
Consistently staying informed is the key to keeping your personal records and financial information safe.
What are the most common schemes right now?
1. Scams demanding an “urgent” payment made with gift cards: Calls requesting Apple App Store cards, Google Play cards, and Green Dot cards are always a scam. Many victims report they were asked to pay off a fake warrant, cover a phony bond amount for a far-away relative in dire need, or complete the transaction as part of a bogus job application.
2. Deceptive job application forms that collect personal information for identity theft: Frequently, victims scrolling social media will find a convenient application on their newsfeeds. Only after they have entered their social security number and banking information, do they realize the position was a sham. While the process for applying for jobs has largely moved to online outlets, remember to only frequent verified sites of the institutions posting the positions and to never submit important details via the web.
3. “Surprise” checks that promise an unexpected windfall, if cashed: Those who have fallen prey to cashing a “contest prize” have received a letter that promised them a percentage of the check, if they promised to send a portion back to the alleged company or business. Selling goods on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace? Beware of potential buyers who offer to pay with a check that is twice the selling price of the item. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
How can you protect your information and your family?
If ever you get a suspicious call or text, never:
• Provide or confirm your personal information.
• Engage the caller in a discussion.
• Give your credit card number or financial information.
It is always okay to hang up. If you can, try to obtain the name of the person who is calling you. If they refuse, it is likely a scam.
If you receive a suspicious email or text, do not click on any attached links. Visit the website or the location of the business in person to see if it is a legitimate organization. The less information you are able to find, the more probable it is a scam.
You can always call the official organization’s 1-800 number to verify the phone call, text, or email you received.
Local, federal, and state agencies will never ask you to pay over the phone. Any claims of your pending arrest or license revocation if you fail to make an immediate payment are patently false.
Fraudulent messages can originate from any scammer in possession of a phone signal and an internet connection. While scams can take only seconds to transpire, subsequent investigations and recovery could take months – if not years.