Parkland Press

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Another View

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 by The Press in Opinion

Protect yourself from scammers

Scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated with their ways to steal money or personal information.

An article, “Grandparent Scam Suspect Arrested, Others Sought,” on the WFMZ TV-69 website reported on a Bethlehem man awaiting extradition to Virginia after allegedly participating in a multistate scam.

The article states Johnnie Vincente allegedly was in possession of an envelope containing $10,000 from a senior citizen in Minnesota when he was stopped attempting to pickup a FedEx package using a fake ID.

The grandparent scam targets senior citizens by contacting them via telephone and telling them their grandson or granddaughter needs a large amount of money because he or she is hurt or in jail.

According to the article, two senior citizens, one in Virginia, the other in Minnesota, were scammed out of a total of $32,500.

Anyone can be targeted by a scammer.

According to Scamwatch.com, even individuals as young as 18 have reported being scammed.

There are many different types of scams and not all of them are easy to spot.

The Internet and advances in mobile communication devices have opened up new ways scammers target individuals to steal their information and money.

According to Scamwatch.com, the top most reported scams include: phishing (an email asking an individual to verify personal information), identity theft, false billing, unexpected prize and lottery; buying and selling; reclaim and remote access scams, upfront payment and advanced fee frauds, threats to life, arrest and other online shopping cons.

With the recent Equifax cybersecurity breach in which approximately 145.5 million consumers personal data was accessed, it is more important than ever to learn how to protect yourself from scammers.

·Never give out personal information online, over the telephone or to someone at the front door. No legitimate company will ask for personal information;

·If you receive a call from an individual you don’t know claiming a relative needs money because he or she is in jail or hurt, call the relative first before giving the caller any money or sending it through Western Union, FedEx or a prepaid card;

·Don’t keep personal information, such as passwords or banking information, on your mobile device in case it is stolen;

·If you receive an email from an address you don’t recognize, expand the message address to see who sent it. If it is a scam the email address will have misspelled words;

·If you receive a call from a person claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, hang up immediately. It is a scam. The IRS will never call if you owe money. The agency will send a letter;

·Keep your operating system and virus protection software on your computer or mobile device up to date;

·If you receive a telephone call saying you won a contest you don’t remember entering, be suspicious. It could be a scam;

·Don’t make quick decisions when it comes to giving someone money or personal information; and

·If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are several things do if you have been scammed.

·Stop sending money through Western Union, FedEx or prepaid cards;

·Contact the local police department to report the scam; and

·Most importantly, educate yourself on the different types of scams to be protected from them in the future.

To learn more, visit USA.gov/scams-and-frauds or the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.

Susan Bryant

editorial assistant

Parkland Press

Northwestern Press