Stephen Brown, Field Training Officer, Sun Lakes Sheriff’s Posse
Online scams are on the rise throughout the United States and in Arizona. Are you doing what you need to protect yourself, your family, and your money?
Sadly, individuals over the age of 60 are some of the first targets for scammers, and according to the Federal Trade Commission, more than $836 million was stolen last year from individuals 60 and older by these deceiving individuals.
The Sun Lakes Sheriff’s Posse is committed to protecting the citizens of Sun Lakes and wants you to be aware of the latest tactics these thieves are using. It’s important to note that many of these online scammers will introduce themselves as friends or helpful assistants before taking advantage of your trust and hard-earned money.
Tactics from Scammers:
The Sun Lakes Sheriff’s Posse has seen an increase in the number of scammers who are posing as law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and utility companies. To be clear, the Sun Lakes Posse, as well as other law enforcement agencies, will never request money for outstanding warrants or arrests. Similarly, utility companies will never request that gift cards or other online transfers be sent to keep your services up and running.
If you are ever questioning whether the individual you are talking to—or communicating with online—is legitimate, hang up and contact the company directly using the phone number or email address found on their website or a recent billing statement.
3 Steps to Protect Your Finances:
1. Never Share Your Personal Information or Financial Information Online. The Sun Lakes Sheriff’s Posse is seeing an increase in scammers who are asking people to answer personal questions like, “Who was your favorite teacher?” or “What was your first car?” or “What is your pet’s name?” If you remember, many of these questions are the same questions that a website asks you when creating an account and can be used to recover your account if you forget the password. By providing this information to scammers, you are giving them the tools they need to steal or access your account.
2. Change Your Password Frequently. The best way to protect your account is to change your password once or twice a year. By doing this, you eliminate the ability for thieves to log into your account. Similarly, it’s a best practice to use different passwords for each account. In other words, your password for Facebook should be different from your password for the utility company.
3. Change Your Passwords If You Feel You’ve Been Compromised by a Scammer. If you feel you have been contacted by a scammer or that your personal information could be in the hands of someone untrustworthy, change your passwords immediately. As noted above, this password should be a unique password that is not used for any other accounts. This should also be done by going to the website directly, and not by clicking any links from an email or direct message on social media.
By following the steps above, we can all stay ahead of these scammers and keep our community safe. We are in this together.