Email Scams, also called phishing, is when you get an email saying that you’re long lost cousin in some faraway land left you part of a $60 million fortune. In order to receive your part, you will need to send $5,000 via Western Union, to some place in Canada. Another type of phishing scam is when you get an email from some large bank telling you your account is expired and that you need to click a link and send them your date of birth, etc. This stuff is bogus. Delete the emails and don’t respond, period. It is that simple. If you think the email might be legitimate, contact the company by phone to check. Banks, the IRS and other legitimate organizations will not ask you for personal information via an email.
Phone scams are less frequent, but they are still out there. Your phone rings, you answer and someone as nice as can be try’s to sell you a product, or says that you have won a cruise if you answer a few questions. They are bogus; tell them to remove you from there call list and not to call you again. If they call you again, blow a whistle in the phone or something. If you think the organization is legitimate, ask them to send you literature or look them up on the internet or check with the Better Business Bureau. I have also seen text scams now and then. Don’t respond and they will go away.
Door to door scams (soliciting) are still out there. Criminals will come to your door and will try to sell you a product or a service, such as cleaning your gutters for a fee. They might even say, “I just cleaned Dave’s gutters, you know Dave, he lives around the corner,” hoping you will let your guard down. Tell them to away and that you are calling the police, which you should, because a percentage of them probably have a warrant on them. Heck, you don’t even have to answer the door in the first place; just let them know that someone is there. If you don’t, they might try to break in, thinking no one is home. If you think the organization that is knocking on your door is legitimate, such as UPS, FED EX or even your plumber, ask them to show you ID, see if they have a uniform on and even check to see if they are driving a properly marked vehicle.
Lastly, face to face scams still exist. Someone might come up to you and say they found a bag of money and will split it with you. This is a clue. You could be heading toward being the victim of a pigeon drop scam. Don’t fall for it and walk away, quickly.
Scammers look for easy targets. My answer is to slow down, pay attention and think before you act. We are responsible for our actions, so the choice is up to you. To be or not to be a victim is up to you.
Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org