JCSO alerting citizens to be wary of scams

JCSO alerting citizens to be wary of scams
(Source: WAFB)

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) is alerting citizens to be wary of scams and frauds.

JCSO says the types of frauds and scams have increased and frequently target the elderly. Some of the recent scams are spinning off the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scammers will try to obtain a person’s personal information by telling them that they have been exposed to the virus, and asking for personal information to follow up on treatment and testing. Another scam involves paying a fee to get your stimulus check or a second stimulus check, according to police.

Authorities say seniors are still being contacted with distress calls that say a family member needs help right away, and ask for cash or gift card type payments.

There are many variations of the scams, but they all require some level of cooperation of the victim. Pressure and urgency are the methods used to get victims to act quickly. Many of these offenders are not local and difficult to identify, according to police.

JCSO gives the following tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a scam:

  • Guard your personal information. Do not give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the actions.
  • When solicited by phone ask questions, do not answer them.
  • Do not ever feel pressured to act immediately.
  • Do not pay for services in cash, or gift cards or wire transfer.
  • Check out the business before any transactions are made.
  • If you are not entirely comfortable with what you are doing, don’t do it.
  • When dealing with contractors, seek another opinion and never pay up front.
  • If threatened with jail for nonpayment, ask which agency is going to put you in jail, then call that agency.
  • Do not meet people in places where business is not usually transacted (parks and parking lots).

Red flags that should cause suspicion are:

  • Someone asking to be paid in cash.
  • Someone asking you to pay them with a green card, gift card, iTunes card or wire transfer.
  • Someone putting pressure on you to act immediately.
  • The scammer is unable to give you a call back number or local physical address.
  • Do not meet people in places where business is not usually transacted (parks and parking lots).

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says if you are ever in doubt, call your local law enforcement.

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