Sheriff’s Office warns of scams gaining prevalence  

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office is warning of a number of scams that residents should be mindful of.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, plentiful reports have been made pertaining to scams and identity theft, many of which falling under or connected to crypto-currency, romance, the Federal Trade Commission, police impersonators, Social Security, utility payments, grandparents intimidation/extortion, and others.

The Sheriff’s Office has offered several tips on how to avoid falling prey to these scams, as well as things to look out for:

•The caller requests you purchase a gift card or send money (especially overseas) in exchange for a free, more expensive item, prize, or large sum of money. Some callers will request your bank account information to deposit a large sum of money directly into your account after you send money. Remember that saying a fee upfront to receive a prize is unnecessary. 

•The caller, who may pretend to be from a federal or local law enforcement agency, will tell you that you are being investigated for a crime and request that you move your assets to a temporary account or send a large sum of money to get out of trouble. The caller may ask you to provide account information; do not give out your account information over the phone. 

•The caller may claim to be a bill collector or claim that your utilities are past due and request payment over the phone to avoid service interruption. Verify that you are speaking with the utility company before providing any information. 

•The caller may claim to be an IT Specialist and that your computer has some issue and request payment to make repairs or access your computer remotely. Remote access will allow the caller to gain access to files stored on your computer, add/delete information, and access websites with stored passwords.

•The caller may try to steal personal, financial, or account information by having you click on a phishing link. A phishing link is a malicious website designed to steal information. Mobile and desktop devices are susceptible to these scams. These links may appear to be from a legitimate person or business with whom you have a relationship. 

•Never give your Social Security number, credit card number or bank account information over the phone unless you can verify a legitimate need. Do not give the information to a person or business with whom you do not have a trusted relationship. 

•Do not send money by courier, overnight delivery, or wire (Western Union) to anyone who insists on immediate payment. 

•Before entering personal or financial information through a website, type in the web address yourself and make sure the URL begins with https (the “s” stands for secure). Use unique passwords for important sites, and safeguard all usernames and passwords. If you think a password has been compromised, change it immediately. Update your devices with the most recent security software updates. 

•A movie star will not contact you and request money from you to meet them and have a romantic relationship.

•Grandparents, if you receive a phone call that your grandchild has been in an automobile accident or has been arrested and that immediate payment is needed to keep them out of trouble, call a family member or your grandchild to verify the information. Do not panic and send money.

•Google the phone number that called you. Most of the time, the reviews and comments will inform you that the phone number is related to a scam and suggest that you do not send any money.

One can always call the Sheriff’s Office with questions or concerns about a scam.

The Sheriff’s Office asks that those with family members who may not have access to social media share this information with them.

 

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