Unfortunately, scams are everywhere and part of our daily lives. They range from robo calls about expired vehicle warranties to someone pretending to be from the Social Security Administration saying your number has been used in a crime and payment needs to be rendered on a gift card to clear it up. It can seem relentless.
Anybody can fall victim to a scam no matter their age, social, economic, or educational background. Criminals are very convincing often using fear and intimidation as scare tactics to convince victims to act immediately. So, what weapon do we have against this? Knowledge! Recognizing common signs of a scam gives you power over falling victim.
While scams can take many forms, scammers often use the same types of tactics that you can look for to identify a scam. They often PRETEND to be from an organization or business you know. For example, the local utility company, IRS, or Social Security Administration. They will “spoof’ the phone number they are calling from to make their story seem that much more real.
The scammer might advise there is a PROBLEM with something. Like your bank account, taxes, or social security number. Or just need to “verify” your personal information. They might also say there is some type of family emergency, that your computer has a virus, or there’s been an unauthorized purchase on your account. Whatever the problem is, they will say they need you to make a PAYMENT, usually in a form or a gift card or prepaid card, to clear it up. Once the money is on a gift card, they want the numbers on the back of the card to take the money.
Lastly, the scammer will PRESSURE you to act immediately. They are bullies. They don’t want you to call your relative to see if they are really in a jail. They don’t want you to reach out to your utility company independently to ask about your account status. Often, they will keep you on the phone (so you can’t call anyone else) while you purchase the gift card/prepaid card.
This month as part of our Safer Naper campaign, we are arming residents with knowledge and information to combat the top scams we are seeing in the area. Please visit www.naperville.il.us/asafernaper and SHARE this information will your friends and loved ones.
Until next month… Stay Aware and Stay Safe.