Originally published as a Glenn County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post –
“Our communities are being hit hard with scammers trying to take your money, don’t fall victim to their tricks! Scammers constantly come up with new ways to steal your money and personal information. They use many different methods including, phone calls from real people, robocalls, text messages, and email. Technology has made this illicit work easy. Auto dialers can blast out robocalls by the millions for just a few dollars a day. Spoofing tools can trick your caller ID into displaying a genuine government or corporate number, or one that appears to be local, this increases the chances that you’ll answer. Here’s some do’s and don’t to be mindful of.
Do put your phone number on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry. It won’t stop spam calls, but it will make scammers easier to spot because most legitimate telemarketers won’t call you if you’re on the registry.
Do consider using a call-blocking mobile app or device to screen your calls and weed out spam and scams. Ask your telephone provider if they offer spam blocking tools.
Do ask questions of telemarketers. Legitimate businesses and charities will answer questions and give you time to consider a purchase or donation. Scam callers will pressure you to commit right away.
DO hang up on robocalls and possible scammers.
Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Don’t return one-ring calls from unknown numbers. These may be scams to get you to call scam hotlines.
Don’t follow instructions on a prerecorded message, such as “Press 1” to speak to a live operator (it will probably lead to a phishing expedition) or press any key to get taken off a call list (it will probably lead to more robocalls).
Don’t give personal or financial data, such as your Social Security number or credit card account number, to callers you don’t know. If they say they have the information and just need you to confirm it, that’s a trick.
Don’t pay registration or shipping charges to get a supposed free product or prize. Such fees are ploys to get your payment information.
Don’t make payments by gift card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Scammers favor these methods because they cannot be traced.
Don’t give remote access to your computer to someone who contacts you unexpectedly, no matter what or who they say they are.
Popular Scams to be mindful of:
Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams: Prize scammers try to get your money or personal information through fake lotteries, sweepstakes, or other contests. Many claim that you’ve won a prize but must pay a fee to collect it. Others require you to provide personal information to enter a “contest.” These scams may reach you by postal mail, email, phone call, robocall, or text message.
Charity Scams: Some scammers set up fake organizations to take advantage of the public’s generosity. They especially take advantage of tragedies, disasters and the holidays. Don’t click on an unknown link in a text or email. Doing so can download malware onto your computer and smart phone. Research before you donate. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation.
Jury Duty and Warrant Scams: Scammers will use a real employee’s name or Sheriff’s Office telephone numbers which can be found online. They will also use Caller ID “spoofing” to appear as though the call is coming from a Sheriff’s Office or court offices. The caller will try to intimidate you, and threaten you with lawsuits, jail time or arrest if you don’t pay them. Law Enforcement officials will never call you to make a monetary request or resolve legal issue or warrants. This cannot be done over the phone!
Tech Support Scams: You’re bound to run into tech problems at home. Make sure you contact your legitimate tech support team. Scammers can and will utilize pop-up messages and emails warning there’s a problem with your computer. They will ask for remote access to your computer and try to sell you software or repair services you don’t need. Never give remote access to your computer to someone who contacts you unexpectedly.
IRS Scam: Someone claiming to be with the IRS will contact you via telephone, many times it starts as robocall requiring you to press 1. They will claim you owe them back taxes and will threaten you with arrest if you do not pay them the requested amount. They will request you put money on a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. These scammers may know some or all of your social security number and personal information. The caller ID might show a Washington DC area number. It is important to remember the real IRS will not ask you to pay them via prepaid debit cards or wire transfer and will contact you via mail first for any unpaid tax debit and not by phone.
Key Thing to Remember: If someone wants you to urgently pay them in return for a job or a prize you won or invest in a virus cure, or ask you to verify your personal information, you’re likely dealing with a criminal who is trying to scam you! Don’t let it happen to you!
Resources:If you encounter a suspected phone scam or an abusive telemarketer, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, online or at 877-382-4357, and notify your state consumer protection office.
Report caller-ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission, online or at 888-225-5322. The FCC also provides consumer guides to numerous phone scams and improper practices.
Visit the Do Not Call Registry website or call 888-382-1222 to register your number or report illegal robocalls.
Contact your local law enforcement agency if you fall victim to a scam. Glenn County Sheriff’s Office (530) 934-6431, Orland Police Department (530) 865-1616.”