72 scam alert
If someone calls you and requests that you dial *72 along with another phone number, do not do this. This will allow them to charge phone calls to your phone number.
Identity theft alert — jury duty scam
The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court. He claims that you have failed to report for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for your arrest. The victim will then rightly claim that they never received any type of notification regarding the jury duty. The scammer will then ask the victim for confidential information for “verification purposes.” Specifically, the scammer will ask for the victims social security number, date of birth, and sometimes even credit card numbers and other private information. This is exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft. Preventative action: Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal and confidential information when you receive a telephone call. The Jury Duty scam is a variation on identity theft scams where the telephone is used to try and get people to reveal their personal information.
Consumer fraud and general scams
In addition to the specific scams listed above, there are a host of other scams to be aware of. Always remember the basic rules: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and “buyer beware”. Below are some common scams seen in Brunswick, some ways to protect yourself and some additional resources for you to use.
- Be wary of emails promising “free” vacations, foreign lotteries, work-at-home offers, get-rich-quick investments, or donations to charities you’ve never heard of. If you’re interested, call the company directly, check fraud web sites, and never provide your personal information in a return email.
- Beware of cheap home repair work that would otherwise be expensive. The con artist may only do part of the work, uses shoddy materials and untrained workers, or simply take your deposit and never return. Never pay with cash. Never accept offers from driveup workers who “just happen” to be in the neighborhood. If they’re reliable, they’ll come back after you check them out.
- Be cautious of checks and money orders you did not expect or for more than the asking price on an item. The con artist may send you a $500 money order for a $100 item. Then, ask you to send him the difference minus a convenience charge for yourself. The money order turns out to be fake and you are out the difference.
- Never give a caller your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number over the phone. It is illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
- Beware 900 numbers. Remember if you call a 900 number to claim a “prize”, you’ll end up paying for the call. Make sure you understand all charges when making a call.
- Take your time and shop around. Don’t let an aggressive con artist pressure you into making a decision. Demand information in writing by mail. Get a second opinion. Ask your family, friends and neighbors what they think about certain offers.
- Stay informed about current scams in your area. Contact your state Attorney General’s office, the Better Business Bureau, or local consumer affairs office for more information.
*Information here was obtained from the National Crime Prevention Council and the United States Postal Service.