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Scam Central

Recognize, avoid scams by phone and computer

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Wilson County News
February 11, 2015 | 2,043 views | 1 comment

Floresville police Chief Lorenzo Herrera advises area residents to be on their guard against scammers.

The Floresville Police Department recently received a report from an elderly person about someone claiming to be an Internal Revenue Service agent. The caller demanded immediate payment with the threat of arrest.

In this case, the would-be victim realized it was a scam in time, but Herrera said reporting such matters to the police is the right thing to do.

Here are some other common scams, some of which were the subject of Wilson County News reportage in the past year:

•Emergency Scam or Grandparent Scam: You receive a call that a relative or close friend was injured, robbed, or arrested while out of the country and needs money immediately.

The Floresville Police Department has received a number of reports of this scam. One area resident admitted falling for it.

•Tech Support Scam: A caller claims to be an online computer service on contract with the manufacturer of your software. To have your computer problem resolved, all you have to do is grant access.

This scam caught a Floresville resident off-guard last year. She lost money not only by paying for a nonexistent contract, but also by paying a legitimate technician to remove malware installed on her computer by the scammer.

•Click Bait Scam: An email message directs you to click on a photo or an attachment. By opening the attachment, you load malware onto your computer.

A Jan. 30 release from the San Antonio office of the Better Business Bureau said an email, falsely claiming to be from the bureau, went to businesses throughout the country earlier that day.

Anyone who clicks on the attachment may damage or disable their computer.

•Sweepstakes Scam: You receive word about winning a contest or a lottery. All you have to do is pay fees or taxes in advance to claim it.

•Medical Alert Scam: Singling out older adults, the scammer claims a concerned family member ordered you a medical alert device for emergencies. The scammer takes your credit card or banking information, but you receive nothing in return.

•Robocall Scam: The scammer claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates if only you provide some personal information -- including a credit card number -- and then charges your card for services never rendered.

Herrera suggested that if you receive a questionable phone call or email message from any agency or company with which you are familiar, you can verify the message by calling the organization directly using your own contact information.

“If you receive an email and you do not recognize it, or it is questionable, don’t open it or respond to it,” Herrera said. “Don’t give out any private information.”

How to avoid scams

•Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions.

•Never provide personal information (address, birth date, banking information, identification numbers) to people you don’t know.

•Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.

•Check out the organization. If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, your utility company, or other organization with which you are familiar, call them using the number on your bill or other official written correspondence from them.

•Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.

•Never send money for an emergency unless you have verified the emergency.

Your Opinions and Comments

Senior Citizen  
Wilson County  
May 14, 2015 5:44pm
This may be an old trick, but just got a call wanting me to fix my Windows operating system. Of course, I hung up.

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