By Martin McCoy, Chief, Auburn Police Department
There has been an increase in reported phone scams in recent months, so the Auburn Police Department (APD) is encouraging the public to be cautious when responding to unsolicited phone calls. Here are few tips to help you safeguard against phone scams.
- Don’t call me. The first rule of telemarketing safety is to ignore pleas and pitches of anyone who calls you uninvited, including charities and even companies with whom you already do business. You have no way to confirm they are who they say they are—and caller ID can be faked.
- Give them nothing. Fraudsters are hunting for information. Your best defense is to tell them nothing. If they try to confirm your name or address, don’t tell them. Any bit of information you give to scammers can be a tool they use to harm you.
- I’ll call you. If the callers insist they have to speak with you, tell them you will call them directly. Fraudsters may offer a phone number for you to call as proof they are who they say they are. Don’t call it. Instead, look up the number independently. And if the caller says he’s with a company that you’re already doing business with (i.e., utility company), then call the customer service number on your bill or online.
- Stay alert. Even if you initiate the call, you may not be safe. Before you give any personal or financial information over the phone, check out the company’s credentials. You could ask them to mail you information, check with the Better Business Bureau, look at the company’s website or ask for reference
- Take your time. Scammers often try to create a false deadline. If you feel pressured to make a decision, hang up.
- Be skeptical. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
- Pay attention to your banking records. Review your monthly statements to ensure your account activity is correct.
- Report to police. If you suspect a scam or if you are the victim of a scam report it to your local police.