The holiday season always sees a rise in cases of credit card fraud and identity theft across the country. Consumers can protect themselves by being cautious and vigilant. Some of the things to look out for include text message scams and charitable donation scams.
One scam that has been prevalent this year is for crooks to send out a text message claiming to be from the victim`s bank informing them that their debit card has been locked. The text goes on to request a reply containing the victim`s Social Security number or debit card information. Should any consumer receive a suspicious text message allegedly originating from their bank, it is advised that they call their bank immediately without replying to the message.
“The text is a scam and any information given to fraudsters will be used to clean out the victim`s bank account,” warned Nevada`s Attorney General Catherine Cortez Mastorecently in a news release. “Do not respond to any such text messages.”
Prior to making any charitable donations, consumers are being urged by officials to do some research on the organization to which they are considering making a contribution. The Better Business Bureau can provide information on the charity`s legitimacy and reputation. Experts caution against making donations via the telephone and warn consumers not to give out any financial or personal information to solicitors.
Some California residents fell victim to a scam after receiving a phone call from an individual claiming to be a member of the police force, a law firm or even a federal law enforcement agency.
“They are told, very aggressively, that they or someone dear to them will be arrested shortly if they do not pay money for some claimed debt,” said Hans Uthe, the assistant district attorneyfor Lake Tahoe. “If they bite, they are told to wire funds to a given location, which is typically offshore, like the Dominican Republic.”
He advises anyone receiving such a call to contact their local law enforcement agency immediately – prior to sending any money.
Consumers everywhere can better protect themselves against identity theft by shredding all their old bills, bank statements, credit card statements and insurance papers before tossing them out in the trash.