Scams - Beware!
Scams are always evolving to use new techniques and technology. Today’s tech-savvy scammers utilize all types of methods to gain access to accounts, convince victims they represent a legitimate entity, or collect your personal data and access codes. Some general awareness tips are:
- Be mindful of 'Smishing' - the fraudulent practice of sending text messages purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
- Look for “skimmers” when using a ATM or remote credit card reader. These are attached to the true devices but “skim” data from your card by reading the magnetic strip.
- Be aware of “phishing” technology – “phishing” or “spoofing” is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This can be done with home phones with caller ID, cellular phones, or by email. if you receive an email or phone call that shows a business but they are asking for confidential information, don’t give out the information. Call the business or agency directly; or go to their office to verify they need the information. Most accounts are not verified through email or a phone call.
- Recently, criminals are creating realistic webpages (Phishing) of commonly used business; banks, credit card companies, utility companies, Amazon, USPS and internet service providers to steal information from unsuspecting victims.
- The common theme of all these scams is the payment of funds utilizing gift cards and pressure to get them quick! The criminals are able to provide information that pertains to the victims' accounts in an attempt to convince the victim that they are a trusted business entity. Some situations include; needing checks repaid, family members in need of immediate funds or civil and criminal fines paid via gift cards. No legitimate business or government entity will ever require payment of funds via sending gift cards and PINs to an unknown individual!
- Once the criminals have the gift card number and PIN, the card balance is emptied in a matter of minutes by other groups around the country. This practice makes investigation and prosecution of these crimes very difficult. Making matters worse, since the gift cards were purchased willingly by the victims, all be it under fraudulent pretense, the credit card companies may hold the victim responsible for the repayment of the charges.
- If any resident suspects fraudulent activity, hang up and immediately use a verified phone number or email to contact the legitimate business. If intrusion or fraud has already occurred, change all passwords immediately and terminate any remote access by the fraudulent party. If a crime or suspected crime has occurred, contact the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction of the crime to file a report. In addition, victims are entitled to one (1) free credit report from each of the agencies each year. If victims obtain one Experian, Transunion and Equifax report spread out over 12 months, they can monitor their credit for additional fraudulent activity every four months.
- Below is a list of trusted resources that residents can use to obtain additional information regarding gift card frauds and scams. In addition, there are links to frequently asked questions related to fraud alerts and credit freeze with the credit bureaus.
- Google Play Store https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
- Traditional scams involve solicitors offering services for a variety of services. Get estimates from local sources and insist on references from other local customers.
Additional questions can be sent to email@example.com
April 25, 2023 Jury Duty Scam
The Davidson Police Department has seen a recurrence of the Jury Duty scam in which the scammer poses as a law enforcement officer or judicial official and states that you failed to appear for jury duty and must pay a fine or post bond as a penalty for not fulfilling your requirement. This scam is successful as most individuals believe it is reasonable, they may have missed a letter requiring their appearance for jury duty.
If the call comes in
- After normal business hours,
- contains a threat of arrest,
- requires immediate payment
THEN, IT IS MOST LIKELY A SCAM.
Regardless, failure to report for jury duty per North Carolina statute is currently $50.00 for each time a juror fails to appear. If you suspect this has happened to you, please contact the Davidson Police Department at 704-892-5131.
For more information and guidance visit this link from the North Carolina Judicial Branch: https://www.nccourts.gov/help-topics/jury-service/jury-service-scams#avoid-jury-duty-scams-7710
November 15, 2022
There are several signs that indicate you might be dealing with a scammer. Remember that if something doesn't seem right, you can always hang up or walk away. Scammers often want you to make a quick decision without thinking about it. Slow down, do your own research about the offer, contact the police department, or consult with someone you trust.
To report a scam you can submit a claim with the Federal Trade Commission at www.reportfraud.ftc.gov
August 23, 2022 Police Alert
Smishing is a form of phishing that uses mobile phones as the attack platform. As with other types of scams, don't be a victim! Learn the warning signs of smishing:
- A text message requesting personal information, such as your Social Security number or an online account password.
- A text message asking you to click a link to resolve a problem, win a prize or access a service.
- A text message claiming to be from a government agency.
- A text message offering coronavirus-related testing, treatment or financial aid, or requests personal data for contact tracing.“
Here are some examples of smishing:
July 19, 2022 Police Alert
Our area continues to experience an epidemic of online and phone scams. Recently, several local police agencies, including Davidson, have reported the following scams related to Facebook Marketplace and the payment app Zelle. If you suspect a scam, hang up, block the caller, and/or remove access to your computer internet connection. Residents should never pay any bill, fine, or demand for money with gift cards, wire transfer, payment applications, or any other payment form without verifying the debt and company information independent of the caller. Here is a summary of the most recent scam and advice from Zelle.
The company that runs Zelle, Early Warning Services, says:
“When selling an item on Facebook Marketplace, consumers should be on the lookout for scammers. The exact mechanics of the scam vary, but in each case, the buyer (aka scammer) convinces the seller to send money via Zelle in order to ‘upgrade’ their Zelle account to release a pending payment.
It’s important to note that it is not possible to ‘upgrade’ your Zelle account. This is often followed by an official looking email purporting to be from Zelle and may even contain the Zelle logo. Consumers should know that Zelle will never send you an email regarding Facebook Marketplace or other online sales platform transactions. Any email appearing to be from Zelle related to online buying/selling is fake.”
Here are a few other tips:
- Be wary of quick responses and fast payment promises. If you post an item and you immediately get contacted with an offer to pay full price (or higher), consider giving it at least 24 hours to get other offers. Most people will ask for more information about the item or to see it in person first before offering to pay on the spot.
- Just because it looks professionally written, doesn’t mean it is. Scammers are more sophisticated than ever, so never rely on just grammatical errors to spot a scam.
- Urgency is almost always a red flag. If a potential buyer is urging you for your personal information and to pay you ASAP, take a second to evaluate the situation. If they push to get your phone number or email to make a digital payment, this usually means it’s a scam.
- Zelle will never send you an email regarding Facebook Marketplace. Zelle will never send an email from gmail.com or other free email services.