Another financial scam noted in area
Monday, December 7, 2020
In this version, the individual is told they are the victim of identity theft or fraudulent charges made to their account. The contact is made via phone, text or email. A message tells the victim to contact “customer service” at a link or number provided. If the victim contacts “customer service,” the scammer tells the victim to take care of the issue by purchasing gift cards and providing the numbers, or transferring money.
Lt. Leah Storm said the amount requested by the scammers is typically under $500, which doesn’t raise alarms at financial institutions or businesses.
“Once the victim advises they are out of money or won’t transfer anymore, the scammers then target other family members or request the victim obtain more money from family or friends,” she said. “At some point, they make small talk obtaining information such as how many kids the victim has and the names of kids. The scammers either keep the victim’s phone number or sell it on the dark web for other scammers to use.”
Later, the victim may be contacted by a different scammer claiming to be someone who can help them recover the lost money for a fee.
- If someone claims you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, do not use the link or phone number provided to contact “customer service.” Research the claim by logging into the known web account or using known phone numbers for the bank, credit card company or business.
- DO NOT SEND MONEY OR GIFT CARDS after receiving this type of message. Research the claims.
- If you identify issues with your account that could be fraud, contact the credit card company or financial institution to report the activity. A victim is not responsible for fraudulent charges until the issue is investigated and the institution/website determines the issue is the victim’s fault.
- You will never be asked to pay upfront for something you didn’t authorize, so don’t be quick to transfer or give money.
- If in doubt, call your local bank or law enforcement agency to assist you with identifying possible frauds/scams.