Phone Scams Increase: Utica Police Offer Tips to Protect Yourself
The Utica Police Department says calls about phone scams are on the rise in Central New York, and they're offering tips on how to keep yourself from becoming a victim.
Phone scams are becoming more frequent, as criminals try to con you out of your hard-earned money. Recent scams include callers pretending to be a member of law enforcement, an attorney, or an employee of the court system. The caller says you need to wire money to get a family member out of legal trouble or bail them out of jail. They then convince their victim to wire transfer money to a specific location.
Alternatively, callers may pose as someone from the IRS or Social Security, demanding that you pay a fine or get arrested.
The Utica Police Department is providing the public with some tips to prevent becoming a victim to these scams. In a Facebook post, the department offered the following:
1. Never give personal information over the phone, via email, or other electronic means. Legitimate agencies and businesses will never ask for your personal information, i.e. SSN or bank account information.
2. Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real
3. Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards and gift cards. Government offices do not ask and will never require you to use these payment methods
4. Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. These people want you to make decisions in a hurry. Slow down, try not to panic, and verify the story first. If you ask questions, they may even try to threaten you, but always verify first.
5. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Typically, banks make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you may responsible for repaying the bank.
They also ask, that if you've been a victim of a scam, to contact the Utica Police Department or your local police department.