With the holiday season upon us, Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce would like to remind the public about the increased possibility of telephone scam calls taking place. Scammers often use this time of the year to prey on the generosity of individuals. Typically, if you receive a call from a scammer, they will tell you that they represent, or are affiliated with, a well-known charity organization within your community. The scammer will request that you purchase “green dot” cards or other pre-paid gift cards at a local retail business. Other popular scams involve calls saying that you missed court and you will be arrested, a family member (normally a grandchild) has been arrested and needs money for bail or to pay for damages, or that you have won the lottery.
Each of these scams will ultimately request that you purchase pre-paid debit, gift, or green dot cards. After the card(s) are obtained, you will be told to provide the confidential account numbers on the back of the card. When the scammer obtains these numbers, the card will be redeemed and you will lose your money. In all of these scams, the scammer will either use fear as a tactic and demand money from you, or entice you with a product you have won that is too good to be true.
Anyone can fall victim for a scam, but the elderly are most susceptible. The Sheriff’s Office asks that individuals with elderly family members keep a check on who they are sending money to, and why. You may also access the North Carolina Attorney Generals’ website for additional bulletins on current scams, as well as a way to report a scam.
If you receive a call and you believe you are being scammed, hang up on the person immediately. You may call your local law enforcement agency and report any suspicious calls. Rest assured, any money you send as a result of a telephone call such as these will be money you will never see again. Keep in mind individuals that commit these types of fraud know how to “spoof” a telephone number to make it look legitimate. Spoofing allows scammers to seem as if they are calling you from a local number, a trusted business, or a government office such as a law enforcement agency.
We hope that these simple tips will help you stay protected from those who wish to steal from you. For more on typical telephone scams, visit: https://ncdoj.gov/protecting-consumers/telephones-telemarketing/telemarketing-do-not-call/.