Crime prevention begins at home – with each of us. In order to avoid being a victim, we all need to follow safe practices daily and be aware and alert of the ever changing world around us. Criminals never take a break and one area that they are always trying to find a way to get over on people is through scamming. Scamming comes in many different forms – E-mails, phone calls, and mail – and no one is excluded. The elderly are often the most vulnerable victims. This is why NCPC believes it is so important to be informed and to pass this information on to you. Education is the best prevention.
For example, a popular scam that has been around for several years but has recently seen a resurgence is the jury duty scam. This scam involves a person who calls and claims to be an officer of the court or some kind of jury coordinator who to inform you that you missed jury duty and there is a warrant out for your arrest. Your natural reaction would be to say you never received a summons. The scammer will offer to clear up the matter if you provide your social security number and date of birth. Crime Prevention Tip: Never give out personal information when you receive an unsolicited phone call.
Another scam alert involves users of Gmail. Those who have a Gmail account may receive an email stating that your account will be suspended due to an overload of unused email accounts in the system. In order to rectify this problem, the scammer wants the Gmail user to respond to the email by verifying the account with personal information (i.e. username, password, date of birth). The scammer states that by not responding to the email, the account will be terminated. The scammer uses scare tactics to force the user to respond to the email. Crime Prevention Tip: Beware of email fraud notifications such as these and do not respond to them. Do not open the email and immediately delete.
What you can do to avoid becoming a victim:
- Do not give out your personal information unless you initiate the contact or know the person or company with whom you are dealing.
- Avoid opening unknown emails. Know your sender and never provide your personal information like a credit card number or social security number.
- Do not disclose your credit card number to an online vendor unless it is encrypted and the site is secure.
- Do not write your Social Security number or telephone number on checks or credit card receipts.
- Order your credit report at least twice a year and report any mistakes to the credit reporting agency in writing.
NCPC has many tips and tools to help you stay informed. Below are additional websites with resources as well. Remember, the best prevention is education.