Avoiding Scams

ScamAlert
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people around the globe every year. They often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information.

Many frauds insist that you wire money, or pressure you to make an important decision on the spot. Don’t fall for such tactics. Listed are some current scams that have been reported here in Chino Valley:

-  Callers will contact you, via telephone, claiming to be with the Publisher's Clearing House.  The callers will present fake badge numbers and identification numbers.  They will tell you all the wonderful prizes and money you have won, however in the end they will request that you go to Walmart, or possibly another location, to pay your portion of the State Tax.  They will request you to send the money to them.  The Chino Valley Police Department would like to remind it's citizens to never send money to someone you do not know in exchange for a prize.
 
  Protecting Yourself

Know Who You're Dealing With
Try to find a seller’s physical address (not just a P.O. Box) and phone number. With internet phone services and other web-based technologies, it’s tough to tell where someone is calling from. Do an internet search for the company name and website, and look for negative reviews. If you find them, you’ll have to decide if the offer is worth the risk. After all, it’s only a good deal if you actually get a product that works.

Dangers of Wiring Money
Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who claims to be a relative or family friend in an emergency who wants to keep the request a secret.

Read Monthly Statements
Often times those who commit fraud steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services without your authorization. If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

Donating Money
In the aftermath of a disaster, give to established charities, rather than 1 that has sprung up overnight. Pop-up charities probably don’t have the infrastructure to get help to the affected areas or people, and they could be collecting the money to finance illegal activity. For more donating tips, check out the
Federal Trade Commission's website that details charity scams.

Purchasing Medical Projects
Ask about research that supports a product’s claims — and possible risks or side effects. Buy prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies. Otherwise, you could end up with products that are fake, expired, or mislabeled — in short, products that could be dangerous to your health. Learn more about buying health products online.

Investments
If someone contacts you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now, that guarantee big profits, that promise little or no financial risk, or that demand that you send cash immediately, report them on the
Federal Trade Commission Website.

Things to Avoid 

Sending Money Strangers
Not an online seller you’ve never heard of — nor an online love interest who asks for money. It’s best to do business with sites you know and trust. If you buy items through an online auction, consider using an option that provides protection, like a credit card.

If you think you’ve found a good deal, but you aren’t familiar with the company, do some research. Type the company or product name into your favorite search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” See what comes up - on the first page of results as well as on the later pages.

Never pay fees now for the promise of a big pay-off later — whether it’s for a loan, a job, or a so-called prize.

Depositing Checks & Wiring Money
No matter how convincing the story. By law, banks have to make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You’re responsible for the checks you deposit. If a check turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for paying back the bank.

Providing Personal Information

That goes whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text message, or an ad. Don’t click on links or call phone numbers included in the message, either. It’s called phishing. The crooks behind these messages are trying to trick you into revealing sensitive information. If you got a message like this and you are concerned about your account status, call the number on your credit or debit card — or your statement — and check on it.

Playing Foreign Lotteries
It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery. And yet messages that tout your chances of winning a foreign lottery, or messages that claim you’ve already won can be so tempting. Inevitably, you’re asked to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or “customs duties” to collect your prize. If you send money to collect, you haven’t won anything. Indeed, you’ve lost whatever money you sent. You won’t get any money back, either, regardless of the promises.