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COLUMNS

Updates on scams, both old and new

Janice Lynn Crose
Crestview News Bulletin

Summer is here, temperatures are hot and the criminals are working hard to steal money. It is unfortunate that the people who run scams never seem to quit.

There are several new and many old reworked scams.

There is now an email that claims your credit card on file for Amazon Prime no longer works. "Click here“ to put in your information. Of course, the website one is directed to is phony. It may look real, but it is not.

If you have a problem with Amazon, go to their website and update your information there.

Never give your information over the phone or click on the email, as it may be phony.

A NEW ONE

A newer scam is one in which a small business or individual advertises their services through a website, such as Home Advisor.

A potential customer (scammer) calls for information and prices, then wants to send a check for far more money than the service requested. The caveat is that they want you to meet them with cash back.

Say the service will cost $600, they want to send you a check for $1,000 and have you hand them or their agent $400 cash. Without a doubt, their check will be no good and you will be out of $400.

Don't fall for this scam. Never give cash back from a check or credit card payment.

SOME ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONS

During the time I sat down to write this article, I got a phishing text on my cell phone, supposedly from AT&T, telling me that my payment was on hold and instructing me to call a phone number with an 850 area code.

Knowing that AT&T uses 800 numbers, I knew this was a scam. Should you get a text such as this, call AT&T’s customer service. When I checked, there was no problem with our account.

Also remember, government agents do not call on the phone and demand payment. The IRS never calls and demands payment immediately. They send letters in the mail.

The Federal Trade Commission isn’t going to transfer money into your bank account, so never give out banking information over the phone to anyone.

If you must give out sensitive financial information over the phone, always initiate the phone call yourself to the phone number on your credit card, bank or mortgage company statement.

Don't ever give any sensitive information to someone demanding or threatening you over the phone. Never click a link in an email to provide sensitive, personal information. Unfortunately, unscrupulous people are only too willing to steal your hard earned money.

Should you feel you are at risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud, contact the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Trans-Union and Equifax. You can place a hold on your credit report, which requires your permission for anyone to access it.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can begin to get your life back together at IdentityTheft.gov. This site will help you with a plan to recover your identity.

Also, most homeowners insurance now includes basic identity theft coverage. You may want to check with your agent and find out exactly what this coverage provides before anything happens.

One last reminder: don’t answer phone calls from unknown phone numbers or blocked numbers. If the call is legitimate and you need to speak with them, they will leave a message. If they don’t leave a message, then they may have nefarious purposes and it is better not to speak with them.

Stay safe, Crestview!

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.