ROCKLAND — The Rockland Police Department took several reports recently of citizens falling victim to scams perpetrated over the phone and internet. According to FBI statistics, Americans lose over $1 billion dollars to these types of frauds in 2020 alone.
One recent incident involved a suspect ordering goods from a Rockland business over the phone using a stolen credit card. After the first transaction, the business had the wherewithal to notice what was requested did not seem legitimate, and took an extra step of contacting the credit card company, who was able to quickly confirm the transaction was in fact fraud.
A second incident involved a suspect impersonating an Amazon customer service agent. The suspect contacted the citizen about a reported “fraudulent purchase.” During this incident, the suspect requested payment over the phone, in the form of gift cards.
Police said to remember and follow these tips to help keep individuals from being a victim of fraud:
1.) Never give out personal information or banking information over the phone/internet. Scammers often say they need this information to verify who they are speaking to. Businesses and banking institutions will never ask for this information over the phone, especially if it is information that the business or bank should already have on file.
2.) If someone is calling to tell you there is a warrant for your arrest or someone you love needs bail money, it is a scam. Law enforcement or the courts will never take payment over the phone for fines or bail.
3.) Never pay using gift cards. Gift card are great for birthdays or graduation gifts but are not a normal form of payment. Scammers use them because once they have the gift card information they can be used from literally anywhere on the planet.
4.) If you or your business is taking credit card payment over the phone, especially if it is not from a known customer, get the card information and contact the banking institution to confirm it’s not fraud before sending or delivering any goods or services.
5.) If you get an email or call from a company or banking institution saying there is something wrong with an order or your account; the best thing to do is to get any information the caller with give, do not give out any personal information. Then, contact the company or banking institution using a know contact number or email to confirm it is not fraud. Never use the contact number or email given by the initial caller. Scammers do this to make the request seem more legitimate, but it will only connect you back to the scammer.
Phone and internet scams can be reported to the federal government using ic3.gov.
Also, more information on scams and how to avoid them can be found at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-avoid-scam.