EPD has seen a few scams recently that you should be aware of:
Publisher’s Clearing House-type Scam - On November 15, a male victim in his 80s was scammed in a variation of the “Publisher’s Clearing House,” scam. The victim was informed he was a winner in the sweepstakes and a check was included for part of the ‘winnings.” He was instructed to call a phone number, deposit the money in his bank and FedEx a large sum of cash to pay fees and taxes. He was to place the money inside a magazine before sending it via FedEx to an address in Georgia. The victim did this and ended up getting a second call for additional funds to be sent as before. The victim sent the funds, then realized he was being scammed and reported this. Eugene Police was unable to retrieve his more than $7,000, as it had already been delivered in Georgia.
To avoid this:
Publishers Clearing House will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a prize. In fact, no legit prize promoter will ever charge you to win.
If anyone calls asking you to pay for a prize, hang up and report it to the FTC.
Never send money to collect a prize. It’s a scam.
From the FTC on prize scams: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/07/fake-publishers-clearing-house-scams
Fake Website and Computer Tech Support Scams – On November 14, a female victim in her 70s had her computer crash while installing a new operating system. She used google to find an Apple support number and the ‘agent’ told her to go to a store to purchase an iTunes card with cash on it. She did so. She was advised by the ‘agent’ that the money didn’t load and was asked to deposit another set. This continued until she had spent almost $3,000.
In another scam, the victim allowed remote access due to a Norton anti-virus pop up. The victim did the same thing, looked up a number on the internet and got a scam web site. There are more and more fake websites out there and people need to be aware.
Tips to avoid falling for these:
- Make a practice of checking the URL of websites you visit. Often times, fake websites try to spoof the original by using a close URL such as a dash between the name or underscore.
- Look for the SSL/TLS Certificate, the green padlock symbol next to the website address. That means the website owners have applied for and received a secure SSL/TLS security certificate from a company authorized to sell them.
- Look for site map or website search bar indicating much more content as would be expected.
- Check for an “About” page. Legitimate websites want to you know all about who they are.
- Check for a contact page or contact information.
- Check for proper spelling and grammar.
- Check for social media presence.
- If it’s an online marketplace, look for a returns or refund policy.
- Look for trust marks and security seals.
- Look for reviews from multiple ranking sites or forums.
- Avoid sites making claims that seem too good to be true.