July 15, 2019

FPD warns citizens about new scams

(Franklin, GA) — The Franklin Police Department is warning citizens of a scam involving Google Play and other gift cards.

“This scam commonly takes place when criminals call on the telephone informing victims of a refund, late payment, overdue taxes, and even posing as local or federal law enforcement officers and threatening legal action,” says Chief Kevin Hannah.

“Although the specifics to these scams constantly change and the telephone number that appears on the caller identification may indicate a legitimate business, no one will request payment in the form of a gift card. These criminals are using modern technology to hijack telephone numbers called phone spoofing, as part of their way to convince victims of their legitimacy.”

The IRS scam continues to impact victims although it has been one of the most commonly reported scams for several years.

An updated warning was recently issued by the IRS, after a surge of fraudulent emails and telephone calls from people claiming to work for the IRS were reported.

These criminals demand payment of overdue taxes and request the payment be made with Google Play cards, gift cards, or other forms of payment in order to avoid being arrested, deported, or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

When resistance is encountered, these criminals will go as far as using the names of local law enforcement officers that they have obtained online to threaten victims. Regardless if you owe money to the IRS, a formal process is in place of how collections are handled, which do not include a call demanding immediate payment and threats.

In addition, email scams have also continued to increase as criminals are using the logos of legitimate businesses, such as financial institutions and payment methods as part of their way to obtain personal information and funds.

Many of these emails will request the receiver to click on a link inside the email and then log in to validate a transaction or update information.

By doing so, your personal information is obtained and used for their financial gain; often cleaning out your account or opening unauthorized accounts with the information you provided.

If you receive an email of this nature, you should never use the enclosed link and provide information.

Tips to Avoid Scams

1. If you receive an email from any company (i.e. a bank or credit card company) that you do not have an account with, delete it immediately. These scammers are using large banks that have a huge customer base to try and gather a large group of victims at once.

2. Do not click on links in emails asking you to update your password, account number, or anything of the sort. If you have questions regarding your account, please call the financial institution directly by calling the number on the back of your credit or debit card.

3. If you are contacted by any software company claiming to be Microsoft, an Anti-Virus provider, or any other similar provider claiming that you have computer viruses or may otherwise be infected with malware, do not entertain them and immediately hang up. 

4. Never let anyone that calls obtain remote access to your computer. They will implant viruses, malware, and even place passwords on your computer and demand payment to remove them. If you feel you might be a victim of this type of occurrence, please contact a local, trusted IT support company for immediate help. 

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