The original item was published from September 3, 2021 9:57 AM to July 1, 2022 12:05 AM
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Geneva Police Department, and law enforcement agencies throughout the country have seen an increase in financial scams. The victims of these scams are typically elderly residents in our community.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers some helpful tips to avoid falling victim to these scams.
- Scammers pretend to be from an organization that you know or contact you on behalf of the government. They may use a real name like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some profess to be from a business that you are familiar with such as a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations. They will use technology to change the telephone number that appears on your caller ID so the name and number you see might not be real.
- Scammers say there is a problem or a prize. They may threaten that you are in trouble with the government, you may owe money, or someone in your family had an emergency. They may state your computer has a virus. Some scammers will tell you that there is a problem with one of your accounts, and they need you to verify personal information. Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to claim the prize.
- Scammers pressure you to act immediately. If you are on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so that you cannot check out their story. They may threaten to arrest you, sue you, take your driver’s license away or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
- Scammers will tell you to pay in a specific manner. They will often insist that you pay by sending money through a transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), instruct you to deposit it, and then send them money.
Geneva Police Tips
- Block unwanted calls and text messages.
- Don’t give your personal financial information in a response to a request that you were not expecting. Legitimate organizations will not call, email, or text to ask for your personal information. Do not click on any links that you are unable to verify.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you the time to make a decision.
- Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. Never deposit a check and send money back to someone you do not know.
- Stop and talk to someone that you trust. Before you do anything else, tell a friend, a family member, or a neighbor what happened. Talking about it could help you realize that it is a scam.
If you have been scammed, or have become aware of a scam please do not hesitate to report the incident to the Geneva Police Department.