By, Officer Josh Brockman
Columbia Police Department
Chief Jason Cross
Columbia Police Department would like to make residents to be aware of a phone scam that has been reported to our department.
The calls are showing up as coming from Jacksonville Florida and Orlando Florida. The caller is trying to convince you that you have won a large prize and they need to get your exact mailing address to send it you. They will eventually start trying to recover some of your personal information from you. If you receive these calls just hang the phone up. We would like to share some tips from the Federal Trade Commission that may help you :
Spot Imposters: Scammers will often pretend to be someone in a position of trust , such as charity organizations, family members ,government agency, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request, whether it comes from a text, a phone call, or an email.
Do online searches: Type a company or product name into a search engine of your choice with words like “review” “complaint” or “scam”. Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call” for example. You can even search the phone number to see if other people has reported them as a scam.
Don’t believe your caller ID: Technology makes it very easy for scammers to fake the name, number, and location of the caller to whatever they want. If someone calls asking for money and you think they could be telling the truth hang up and call back a number that you know is genuine to see if the call is real. If you can’t verify don’t send.
Don’t pay upfront for a promise: They may ask you to pay upfront for services like debt relief, loan offers, mortgage assistance, jobs, or you won a prize and you got to pay shipping and taxes first. If you do they will likely take money and disappear.
Consider how you pay: Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in but some methods don’t. Wiring money through Western Union or Money gram is risky because its nearly impossible to get money back. These is also true for reloadable cards.
Talk to someone: Before you give up your money or information talk to someone you can trust. Con artist will often try to make you hurry into a quick decision even threatening you by pulling offer or saying they will prosecute you. Slow Down and check out their story, do online searches, consult an expert, or call a trusted family member or friend.
Hang up on robocalls: If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report the number to the Federal trade Commission these calls are illegal. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. Just hang up.
Be skeptical of free trial offer: Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you an amount every month to you cancel. Research the company and read the cancellation policy.
Don’t Deposit a check and wire money back: Banks will make funds available from deposited checks usually within days, but uncovering a fake check, stolen check from out of state could take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be fake , you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
Remember the old saying “If it sounds too good to be true then its probably not “Take the time to research before you give your identity or hard earned money to someone. If they are legit, they won’t mind a bit if you do your homework.