HAPPENINGS: Protect yourself, your personal information from scammers

Janice Lynn Crose | Special to the News Bulletin/USA TODAY NETWORK

CRESTVIEW — Instead of working, unscrupulous people dream up scams to part the unsuspecting from their money.

Here are some scams — some old, and some new — that are currently making the rounds. I experienced the first one last week.

I received five text messages supposedly from Hancock-Whitney Bank that said: "FRM: Hancock-Whitney Bank-ALERTS. SUBJ: Call: (858)751-7636 #Now ID: 848. MSG: Your card is restricted! srnp."

Now this is all very interesting, except for one major flaw — we don't have any type of card with Hancock-Whitney Bank.

Please don't ever call a number from an unsolicited text message as this is a scam and someone is looking to steal your hard earned money.

If you suspect there is a problem with your debit or credit card, call the bank or credit card company from a printed statement you received from them.

The second scam is for a "free" pair of Apple Air Pods. You receive a text message  stating you just won a free pair of Air Pods from Amazon, and just click on the link embedded in the text message or call the phone number.

Of course, on the other end of the phone is a demand for your Amazon account information and password. In some instances, they request your credit card number. If you click instead of call, your device may be infected with malware.

When something appears to be too good to be true, unfortunately, it is.

We have also personally received this scam. You receive an email or text stating that the company (it could be UPS, the post office, Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc.) is holding your delivery until you verify your purchase. Again, it will come by either a text message with an embedded link to click or an email with a phone number.

The embedded link will take you to a fake website and ask for all sorts of personal information, such as your credit card number, password, address and so on and may infect your device with malware. If you call the fraudulent phone number in the email, it will undoubtedly be a person that wants all of your personal information, including your home address, credit card number, password, etc.

This could potentially set one up for a home invasion, as well as credit card fraud.

Please don't fall for these scams. Don't click links in emails or text messages.

If you feel the message may be legitimate, please look on your statement from the store or financial institution and call that phone number.

To be safe, never give out your credit card number over the phone unless you initiated the call and are entirely certain you have reached the bank or credit card company. No one needs the aggravation of credit card fraud or identity theft.

Please stay safe and be discerning so you can thwart these would-be thieves!

Janice Lynn Crose

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.