Editor's note: The following is a release from the regarding two recent phone scams. published by Patch.
In the past week, the Hinsdale Police Department has received two reports of scams in which residents have received telephone calls informing them they’ve won a prize from the Publisher’s Clearing House. To claim the reward, the residents have been asked to purchase pre-paid gift cards and instructed to provide the serial numbers by phone to the suspect(s). The phone numbers provided by the callers can be from anywhere in the world. The victim finds that the gift card balance is almost immediately depleted, and results in the loss of value paid to purchase the gift card.
As the number of scams and the variety of scams continues to change, there are some common tips that are applicable and should be practiced at all times to protect yourself from becoming a victim:
- To avoid most scam attempts, never deal with monetary exchanges to solicitations by phone or online.
- Scams can come from anywhere: U.S. mail, over the phone, email, eBay, Craigslist, and various other sources online, or even door-to-door.
- Never send money overseas. Law enforcement can often do little to locate the scammers or recover the money once sent.
- If ever you are to receive an unsolicited check, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DEPOSIT THE CHECK TO THE BANK. The check is likely fictitious.
- Deals on the Internet that sound “too good to be true” usually are.
- Never make a payment directly to a salesperson. Verify the salesperson’s business or organization, and make payment directly to the business or organization. Contact the Better Business Bureau to check on a firm, or check credentials with financial authorities.
- All investments come with a risk. If the promoter claims that it is a “sure thing,” do not buy it.
- Be wary of phone calls informing you that you have won a prize but need to pay to receive the prize. Scammers now are requesting you to purchase gift cards or prepaid credit cards and solicit the numbers by phone from the cards.
- Scammers will stay current with the media and government. They will call posing as a government officials asking personal information with regards to health care. Do not provide personal information to callers unless you’ve verified their identity or organization and purpose.
- NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION OR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Be aware of current and common methods scammers use to access your cash by researching them. A good resource which includes videos and current information is the AARP: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/.