Scams come in all forms and fashions and the focus is almost exclusively on one thing: parting you from your money.
We have to be diligent when it comes to crooks and their scams. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid the headache of losing money and repairing your credit.
With April 15 quickly approaching, thieves are on the lookout for your tax dollars. Some in Pasco have received phone calls from those claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Those callers threaten to take legal action if funds are not paid immediately. This is absolutely a scam. If you have experienced this, please visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing to get help.
There is also the persistent problem of skimming. This is when a device is placed either on or inside an ATM machine or even fuel pumps. That electronic device will then record your bank card information, allowing the crook to duplicate your card and use it at their leisure. Sometimes small cameras are placed near a keypad in an attempt to record your PIN. There are a few simple things you can do in an attempt to avoid being a victim of a skimmer. First, thorough inspect an ATM’s credit card reader. If it appears to be loose or it’s damaged or appears to be altered, don’t use it. When you do use an ATM, cover your hand to shield your PIN from being secretly recorded. Even better, If you must get cash back, go inside of a grocery store. You may have to make a small purchase, but it almost guarantees no one else has access to your card information. If you want to pay for gas, go inside and pay the cashier instead of paying at the pump. For more information on skimmers, visit the FBI’s link on the matter: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/july/atm_071411.
Scammers have also attempted to use gift cards to get money. In one ruse, the crook calls a number and tells the person they are holding a family member hostage. He tells the person on the other line if they want to insure their family member returns home safely, money must be placed on a gift card and the PIN must given to the caller. In a different version of that scam, a caller claims to be from a lottery company and in order to collect you alleged winnings, the potential victim must purchase a gift card and place a certain amount of money on that card. The citizen must then give the caller the PIN number. Please, don’t fall for those scams. In the hostage hoax, family members have been found to be safe and no contact was ever made with them.
There are a number of other scams that can be highlighted, but a great source is the Federal Trade Commission, which has dedicated a portion of their site (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts) to scams of all stripes. Please take time and visit the site, it could save you headache, heartache and the loss of your hard-earned money.
If you believe you are the victim of some type of identity theft or financial fraud, the following link has valuable information to assist you through such a terrible ordeal: http://pascosheriff.us/identity-theft-kit/.