The Fairfield Glade Police Department teamed up with Fairfield Glade Neighborhood Watch Coalition for a scam seminar at The Center on Oct. 3, to inform residents on the new and developing scams they are seeing right now.
“These people are good at what they do,” said FGPD Capt. Mark Rosser, who added residents should be extra cautious about giving out their personal and financial information.
“It happens all the time,” Rosser continued. “Criminals are going to be criminals.”
Some of the scams residents learned about were identity theft scams, grandparent scams, online dating scams, money wiring scams, gift card scams, phishing scams, relationship scams and computer scams.
He told of scam reports that had come across his desk recently, ranging in losses from $500 to $500,000. One such scam investigation report was a lady fell victim to a relationship scam where a man took advantage of her caring and exploited her trust. He told her he was in the oil business and had to make payroll and needed equipment for work. She sent him everything she had and more. She even took a mortgage out on her home.
He scammed her out of well over $700,000.
“These are sad stories. These are the things that ruin people’s lives,” Rosser said. “Some [scams] are annoyances, but ones like this ruin people’s lives.”
There are three signs that it might be a scam:
1. They tell you there is a problem (like computer issues, someone is arrested, ect.) or an opportunity (you’ve won a prize, ect.)
2. They tell you there is a time limit, i.e. act now or something bad is going to happen or you will lose the opportunity.
3. They tell you exactly how they want you to pay (gift cards, cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, kiosks, wire transfers, ask for bank or credit card information over the phone).
“You do not pay bills with gift cards,” Rosser warned. “You only buy gift cards to give as a gift.”
Evelyne Kornriech, with Neighborhood Watch, gave a detailed presentation on Medicare scams, signs that indicate it is a scam and how to avoid them.
Types of Medicare scams include COVID scams, billing scams, identity theft, telehealth scams and genetic testing scams.
“There is no such thing as a Medicare COVID-19 card,” Kornreich said. “They are just trying to get your information.”
There is also a scam going on where people are receiving unsolicited phone calls from someone identifying as a Medicare representative who needs a family medical history regarding cancer or other diseases or conditions, in an attempt to siphon clients’ information.
“If you did not reach out to a company, don’t give them any information,” she continued. “Agents are not allowed to just, unsolicited, show up to a house. At a health fair or educational fair, you do not have to give them all your information.”
For any questions or concerns, Senior Medicare Patrol may be able to help.
Roster said one big difference between a legitimate communication or a scam is whether or not you are the one who initiated contact with a familiar office or organization. If you get a questionable email, do not click on it or answer it. Call to verify. If you are contacted by phone by an organization you are familiar with but have not initiated contact, hang up and call the office headquarters back to verify. Do not give your personal or financial information over the phone or email.
“Every household needs a shredder,” Rosser advised.
Those who need to report internet scams, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.Ic3.gov.