October has become the official month for recognizing and celebrating the practice of crime prevention, while promoting awareness of important issues such as victimization, volunteerism, and creating safer, more caring communities. The month-long celebration spotlights successful crime prevention efforts on the local, state and national levels.
Here in Bradley County we observe this primarily through the National Night Out Against Crime, which we conduct in October. The objective is to get together Neighborhood Watch coordinators, members and others in the community who are interested in preventing crime in our community. There are also many other ways to get people active in the many facets of crime prevention. Today I just want to focus on three of the scams that are going around and how they work.
First is the scam of the “Surprise Gift Basket.” You could get a call from a business where the caller states that you have a gift basket to be delivered to you. All of us like to receive gifts, especially ladies when they receive flowers or a basket of goodies. Yet, when that gift basket comes with a price you are probably going to be a victim of a scam. How it works is that the scammer will say to you on the telephone that you must pay a small verification charge to verify that you are of legal drinking age. The reason is that the basket that will be coming to your residence can’t be delivered to an under-aged person because it has a bottle of alcohol included. You will then supposedly receive a card in the mail stating who the recipient will be. When the delivery person comes to your house he will ask you to swipe your debit or credit card on their device and enter your PIN number.
Just remember that a card will come with a gift of flowers or a basket of goodies.
Any person that brings you something from a third person should never be given access to your bank cards or your personnel information.
Next there is the “Miracle Pill Offer” that is going around. People involved in this scam are trying to prey on those that may have a lack of confidence in themselves. They know that a lot of people don’t feel good about themselves because of things like excess weight, loss of hair, disease or some other factor.
What you need to know is that there are no revolutionary fixes for most things. Don’t believe fake testimonials that are presented over the TV or emails, etc. Remember that the only pills that will or can work are the ones recommended by your doctor. If you do look for any products online, always look for reputable companies or websites that you know are not going send you counterfeit or useless pills.
Instead of looking for a miracle, watch what you eat, go out for walks or runs, exercise and take the medications or supplements that your doctor says will help.
The third and last scam I want to mention today is the “Account Deactivation Alerts” you might get as a text on your cell phone or over the telephone. Scammers hope you will respond to their phone number to find out more details about the warning. Of course the person on the other end of the line will ask you for your personnel information and card number for confirmation. Remember, you should never give out your information to someone over the phone. Call someone at your bank that you know personally or go to the bank.
There are many other variations of the deactivation/activation scams going around, supposedly from email providers and online search engines. These providers are not going to tell you that your account was deactivated by a text message.
Just remember that there a lot of bad people out there that will take advantage of anyone that they can. Scams are a big criminal enterprise and we all must be alert to that fact.
Always be suspicious of anything that sounds to good to be true, because it most likely is not true and is probably a scam.
Finally, since Oct. 31, is Halloween let’s all be mindful of safety for our children and alert to preventing dangerous pranks or criminal activity.
As always thanks for reading.