‘Be aware and on your guard:’ Police issue warning over online scams

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) – To raise awareness of online scams, police are telling residents to be careful who they hire to do work on a home, who they may meet online, and even on phone calls from someone claiming to be a relative in need of money.

In a press release Monday from State College Police, they cite eight specific scams that scammers will use to try to gain access to someone’s personal or banking information. Police also said the scammers usually come from outside the United States.

  • Love scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating sites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find mates.
  • Tech support scam: Criminals pose as technical support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer problems. Crooks gain access to victims’ devices and sensitive information remotely.
  • grandparents scam: Criminals impersonate a parent – usually a child or grandchild – claiming to be in immediate financial need.
  • Government impersonation scam: Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or sue victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.
  • Contest/charity/lottery scam: Criminals claim to work for legitimate charities in order to gain the trust of victims. Or they claim their targets have won a foreign lottery or contest, which they can collect for a “fee”.
  • Home repair scam: Criminals show up in person and bill homeowners in advance for home improvement services they never provide.
  • TV/radio scam: Criminals target potential victims using illegitimate advertisements about legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair.
  • Family/caregiver scam: Relatives or acquaintances of elderly victims take advantage of them or otherwise obtain their money

“Daily tasks: opening an email attachment, following a link in a text message, creating a
online purchase – can expose you to online criminals who want to damage your systems or steal
from you,” the statement read. “Preventing crimes and cyber intrusions on the Internet requires each of us to be aware and on our guard.”

People are also reminded that no company or government entity will attempt to request personal information or any payment in the form of a gift card or bitcoin.

Police recommend that residents do the following to avoid being scammed:

  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and induce victims to act immediately. Call the police immediately if you think there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
  • Never give or send personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
  • Beware of unsolicited phone calls, mailings and offers of door-to-door service.
  • Examine the email address in all correspondence and review website URLs. Scammers often impersonate a legitimate site or email address using a slight variation in spelling. Or an email may appear to be from a legitimate company, but the actual email address is suspicious.
  • Do not click on the link in an unsolicited text or email asking you to update, verify, or verify your account information. If you are concerned about the status of your account, visit the company’s website to log into your account or call the phone number listed on the official website to see if there is anything that needs your attention.

If anyone thinks they are being scammed or their personal information has been compromised, they should contact their local police department.

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You will find more information on how to protect yourself against scammers or fraud. on line.

About Elizabeth Fisk

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