By Kelly Brown
Scams are everywhere these days. They are in our email inboxes, on social media, scam artists are calling our landlines, and also our cell lines. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy! I’ve got some helpful hints and tips to help you avoid falling victim to these criminals.
First things first; your credit card company, utility company, and any other company that you pay monthly for service will NEVER call you up or email you to ask you for payment on an outstanding balance via gift cards. These companies deal with payment through cash, check, money order, credit card, or debit card ONLY.
A few other things to keep in mind; the actual FBI will NOT call your house or cell phone to let you know that they have a warrant out for your arrest, scammers use this as a scare tactic because they know that people would much rather pay a ridiculous amount of money (another thing the FBI would never do, accept money in lieu of your arrest, that is bribery and is illegal) than to be arrested by the federal government for a crime they didn’t commit.
Also, the IRS will NOT call you to try to get payment for money that you owe them. ESPECIALLY if you weren’t aware that you owed the IRS money in the first place. If you do owe the IRS money, the first thing that would make you aware of the debt is a paper bill that you would receive in the mail.
Alright, so now that you know what to look for, what do you do if you receive a suspicious call?
The best course of action is to simply hang up immediately, as soon as you feel like something isn’t right. If you are worried that you might have been too hasty in your decision to end the call you can call the number on the back of your credit card to reach customer service, they should have a record on file if a representative of their company tried to get ahold of you about an issue and also of what that issue was. The same goes for any utility company you use.
You can also contact your local police department using their non-emergency number to let them know what your experience with the scammers was. There will be nothing that the police department can actually do to stop the scammers as their operations are, a lot of times, overseas or at the very least not in their jurisdiction. However, they will be able to let the public know to be aware of the scam and provide them with the scammers specific claims so that they can avoid it as well.