Amid a recent increase in telephone scams, Chief Robert Kalamaras and the Fairfield Police Department would like to share with residents tips on how to prevent themselves from falling victim to scams.
A common way scammers target their victims is through telephone scams. Telephone scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls or text messages. Typically, these telephone scammers try to steal your money or personal information.
“In an effort to prevent vulnerable residents from falling victim to telephone scams, we would like to share some tips on how to recognize scams and next steps for if you’ve been targeted by a scammer,” Chief Kalamaras said.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the following tips and information regarding phone scams:
How to Recognize a Phone Scam:
- There is no prize: In some instances, scammers will call saying that you were selected for an offer or won the lottery and then request money before they send you the “prize.” Individuals should note that if you have to pay to get the prize then there is no prize and it’s a scam.
- You won’t be arrested: Law enforcement or a federal agency will never call to tell you that you’ll be arrested, fined, or deported if you don’t pay taxes or some other debt right away. If you receive a call similar to this, it’s a scam to scare you into paying.
- Government agencies won’t call to confirm your sensitive information: A legitimate organization won’t unexpectedly ask for your private information such as your Social Security number. As such, you should never give out your personal information, especially your social security, bank account or credit card numbers.
- You don’t need to decide now: Scammers may pressure you to make an immediate decision. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into giving your personal information or paying a fee. A legitimate organization will give you time to make a decision.
- There’s never a good reason to send cash or pay with a gift card: Scammers commonly ask for payment with a gift card or a money transfer service. Take this as a significant red flag — legitimate organizations do not ask for payment in this way. Residents should also never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
How To Stop Calls From Scammers:
- Hang up: If you don’t recognize the caller or if a company that you do not want to do business with is calling you, just hang up. When you get a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Instead of letting you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, it might lead to more robocalls.
- Consider call blocking or call labeling: Your best defense against unwanted calls is call blocking. You can also sign-up to be added to the National Do Not Call Registry. If you still receive telemarketing calls after registering, there’s a good chance that the calls are scams.
- Don’t trust your caller ID: Scammers will often spoof phone numbers, which allow them to make any name or number show up on your caller ID. Be vigilant of what is said over the phone and don’t rely on caller ID to verify who’s calling.
How to Report Phone Scams:
Community members who suspect they may have been targeted by a telephone scam should report the call to the following:
- Report telephone scams online to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also call 877-382-4357. The FTC is the primary government agency that collects scam complaints.
- Report all robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry.
- Report caller ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission. You can report either online or by phone at 888-225-5322.
Community members should also report any scams to the Fairfield Police Department at 203-254-4800.