Town of Oyster Bay Councilwoman Vicki Walsh cautions residents to be on alert of potential telephone and internet scams this Holiday Season, particularly those soliciting any personal information or monetary contribution.
“Time and time again we hear about scammers trying to obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting residents, especially our senior citizens,” said Councilwoman Walsh. “Whether on the phone or online, scammers often pose as officials from the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration or other well-known agency in an attempt to intimidate the recipient.”
The Councilwoman noted that many times, their return phone numbers can also be falsified to appear as a familiar number. In addition to seniors, others frequently targeted include students and first-generation Americans. Current common scams include offers of debt relief, car warranty extensions, and credit repairs. Scammers have also been known to pose as family members allegedly in trouble and seeking money.
“The last thing families need, especially during these uncertain times, is someone trying to scam them out of their hard-earned money,” said Councilwoman Walsh. “We alert all residents to be wary of any unsolicited phone calls and websites that appear suspicious, especially those requesting money or personal information, even if they claim to be from a government or bank entity.”
You can take these proactive steps to ensure you and your family aren’t scam victims:
- If you receive a call from a number you do not recognize, do not answer the phone. If you do, hang up the phone immediately. Don’t press numbers to speak to a live operator or take your number off the list, as this just confirms your phone number.
- Ask your phone company whether they charge for blocking phone numbers.
- Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers use the internet to make calls all over the world.
- Don’t click on any suspicious links or attachments in emails and on websites.
- Ensure all of your online shopping is from reputable businesses.
- Report your experience to the FTC online or by calling (877) 382-4357. Visit www.ftc.gov/calls for more information.