From the Desk of Owego Police Chief Joseph Kennedy

From the Desk of Owego Police Chief Joseph Kennedy

Please be aware of various scams. Never give out any information like your name, date of birth, phone number, e-mail address, mailing address, social security number, bank or credit card information, etc. over the phone. Legitimate callers will already have the information they need (your name, address, etc.). Tell them to mail any information you may need. 

There are too many scams out there to list them all; here are a few of them:

1. Your family member is in jail and needs bail money (usually will ask for wire transfer).

2. Your computer has been infected (usually will ask you to go to a website to gain access to your computer).

3. Your social security number has been compromised.

4.  You will receive a phone call starting with the question, “Can you hear me okay?” When you answer yes, your response will be recorded and later be used as an agreement to purchase and/or send money.

5. You have inherited a large amount of money and we need your bank information to process it.

6. You have won a trip and we need your bank information to process your win.

The list of scams gets longer every day, so be wary of anything out of the ordinary. 

Talk to your family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly who are easily confused by technology. Make them aware of these scams and remind them to never give out information over the phone. 

Here are some tips on how to avoid scams and schemes: 

If someone calls you offering technical computer support or claiming your   computer has been infected with a virus or hacked, hang up.

Be wary if a person asks for payment in an unusual form, such as through gift cards, wire transfers, or a check to be picked up by a courier.

If your device has been infected by a computer virus or does not work, take it to a reputable local company to fix it.

Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware software. 

Never give out any passwords to any accounts, computer or otherwise.

The best thing to do with phone calls is to not answer unless you know who is calling. Make them leave a voicemail (they won’t if it is a scam) and then return the call if it is legitimate.

If you think you may have been scammed here are some steps you should follow: 

If an unknown person remotely accessed your computer, disconnect your computer from the Internet immediately, turn it off, and take it to a reputable computer technician for inspection.

Contact the law enforcement agency in your jurisdiction to file a complaint.

If you provided credit card or bank account information to the scammer, contact your financial institution right away to notify them of the incident and dispute any inappropriate charges.

If your personal information was compromised, consider taking steps to protect yourself from identity theft – such as placing a fraud alert on your credit report, freezing your credit report, and monitoring your credit report and financial accounts for unauthorized activity.

If you have given out any passwords, change them immediately.

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