With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us and Christmas just around the corner shoppers aren't the only ones looking for deals. Criminals attempt to lure hard working and trusting people out of their money with scams and schemes.
Scams aren't knew and are done all year long. However, with the holidays many people let their guard down and can become a victim with good intentions in mind.
"It can happen to anyone even the most educated person," said Interim Police Chief Aniceto "Cheto" Perez. "People tend to feel embarrassed when they are educated and still get taken. Many times people don't want to report the incident, they just want law enforcement to be aware."
Scammers will increase their criminal activity during the holidays knowing that people are more generous and giving.
"The elderly are prime targets," Perez stated. "We want people to remember not to give personal information over the phone and to take time to verify if the person calling you is legit. Always ask for a call back number so you can verify what you're being told is accurate. Don't send money or give your banking information."
Take simple steps to avoid falling into these traps.
Never send money to someone you have never met. Even if they claim to be a long lost relative or friend claiming to be in an emergency situation. Never share personal information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited. Avoid unusual forms of payments such as prepaid debit cards, gift cards or wire transfers. Be cautious of deals that seen to good to be true. Law enforcement or Internal Revenue Services (IRS) - These two entities will never contact you by phone. Official letters will be sent to you from these agencies or a uniformed officer will knock at your door. Fake charities and social media gift exchanges - With the holidays many people are in a generous mood and scammers will take to the phone, email or social media with promises of discounts, coupons or gift exchanges. Perez doesn't want to deter anyone from helping family and real charities, but with so many scammers trying to earn a quick buck he wants to make sure everyone is cautious at all times.