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Stay On Guard For Scams

I've received a few calls and visits recently from residents who have been targeted by those attempting to commit financial scams and frauds.

Fortunately, all of them saw the red flags and did not become crime victims!

As a good rule of thumb, if you don’t initiate contact with the person or company, never give out your personal information such as your birth-date  social security number, bank account information, maiden name, etc...

In addition, if things seem too good to be true, they probably are.

If you get an email from an overseas prince saying he needs your help with a financial situation and in exchange you will be given several million dollars, it’s likely a scam.  If you unexpectedly get a package shipped to you with a several thousand dollar check in it, don’t cash the check.  If you receive a phone call saying your family member is stuck in a foreign jail and needs money, do some independent research before giving out your bank account information.

All of the scenarios listed above may seem obviously suspicious.  Unfortunately, the criminals who perpetuate these scams are professionals.  They are convincing.  They sound legitimate.  The documents they provide look official.  They are good at what they do. 

Most recent scammers have been providing addresses and phone numbers from The United States.  However, the investigations typically show those addresses don’t exist and the phone numbers are invalid.  In fact, many of the scams can be tracked back overseas to areas such as Nigeria, Africa. 

That is why it’s important to guard your personal information and stay on top of your financial standing.

Each year around this time (Tax Day), I like to remind residents that a good way to monitor your financial standing is by obtaining a copy of your credit report.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act allows you to obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from Experian, Equifax and Transunion, which are the three nationwide credit reporting companies.

You can obtain this report by calling 1-877FACTACT (1-877-322-8228) or online at www.annualcreditreport.com.

This report will help you determine if there has been suspicious or unauthorized financial activity made in your name.

Again, Cherokee County residents have done a fantastic job on recognizing these scams, but the scams continue to evolve, so we have to remain on alert.

As always, please feel free to contact our office if we can be of any assistance.

Sheriff David Groves 

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