by: Spencer Lee
Posted: Nov 29, 2021 / 12:00 PM EST / Updated: Nov 29, 2021 / 11:06 AM EST
FILE – A man types on a laptop. (NEXSTAR)
HARRISBURG — According to the Federal Trade Commission, over 4.7 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2020.
In response, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) are reminding residents to be extra cautious against fraud and scams associated with holiday shopping.
“Every year, we hear reports of consumers conned by fraudsters using sophisticated methods and manipulation to steal holiday joy and money,” said Richard Vague, Secretary of Banking and Securities. “There’s a certain mythology that scams only happen to the elderly or the young, but anyone can get caught up in the tale spun by a scammer.”
Five common scams victims encounter include:
“Unfortunately, every holiday season, nefarious actors take advantage of consumers,” warned Major Jeremy Richard, Director of the PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “The Pennsylvania State Police work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to investigate their crimes; nevertheless; their illicit scams result in major losses which sometimes can’t be recouped. It is imperative consumers recognize the signs of a scam and take steps to prevent them from happening. It is also very important to monitor the actions of elder relatives, neighbors and friends as they often are specifically targeted by these scam actors.”
Five strategies that can help Pennsylvanians protect themselves from these scams and others include:
- Monitor Your Accounts. Frequently check your financial accounts for any debits or withdrawals you do not recognize.
- Never follow links in unsolicited emails. Check that any emails you receive are from a correct email address.
- Type the website directly into your browser. Pay attention to your spelling and double check that it is a U.S. domain – like dot-com rather than an international domain – before entering any sensitive information.
- Be wary of any transaction involving checks. Never send anything via Western Union or prepaid cards.
- When in doubt, hang up. Never provide credit card info as part of an unsolicited phone call and think twice if you’re being pressured to donate “right now.”
Pennsylvanians who have fallen victim to a scam can contact their financial institution and local police department through non-emergency channels. Additionally, victims can file a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center HERE.
Anyone can contact DoBS at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-722-2657 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products.
For news delivered right to you,subscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com’sbreaking, daily news & severe weather email lists.
Five common scams victims encounter include:Previous