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August 2020
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Never trust anyone who asks for money

We are going to save some of you a good bit of time. This week’s editorial idea in one sentence: DO NOT EVER GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO OR A GREEN DOT CARD NUMBER TO ANYONE YOU DON’T KNOW.

If you are practicing the rule above, feel free to skip to our other stories this week.

For those of you wondering if the rule applies if the caller knows your name and birthday, if they say they are a court/law enforcement officer, if they claim to be helping your grandson who really is on vacation, keep reading. Yes, the rule always applies. DO NOT EVER GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO OR A GREEN DOT CARD NUMBER TO ANYONE YOU DON’T KNOW.

You may ask, what if the person on the phone seems to have a lot of facts about me  – such as birthday, recent travel, spouse’s name and occupation?

Yes, it still applies. DO NOT EVER GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO OR A GREEN DOT CARD NUMBER TO ANYONE YOU DON’T KNOW.

In previous stories both our sheriff and Jasper police chief have warned in the strongest language possible that scams are perpetrated by people calling on the phone seeking financial information often. And more and more we see this by text as well.

Never do legitimate agencies, courts, cops, doctors, or the IRS call demanding money to avoid fines or jail. 

One of the more recent scams is people calling/e-mailing elderly people saying a relative is in trouble and needs immediate help. Trouble could range from a wreck while on vacation or a court situation.

Thanks to social media, it’s not hard to find people on vacation, then find grandparents who like their photos and figure out a way to contact them. 

We’ve written editorials like this before. We quoted our Jasper Police Chief several years ago advising that if you were sending Green Dot (a pre-paid credit card that is virtually untraceable and unrecoverable) money overseas to someone who randomly called you, you can be pretty sure you are being ripped off.

We are again offering this caution as it’s needed and not just for elderly people who are the most common targets. It happens to savvy cyber-currency users as well.

Last week national news was made after the Twitter accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Kanye West, Bill Gates and others were hacked. A message was posted saying if you send them Bitcoin, they’d send you back double.

The message posted on all the accounts made it appear these celebrities wanted to give back to the world but only if you acted in a short span of time.

Law enforcement judged the message to be “amateurish but effective,” according to a New York Times account. It worked to the tune of $118,000 in three hours. 

This scam follows a pretty standard huckster formula, “you give me something first and then I will return it with more.”

This type of crime happens by phone pretty often with someone telling callers they have won a large prize, but to claim it a certain fee in advance is needed.

There is a similar plot that we reported fooling some local folks several years back, involving a ridiculous job – make big bucks to sit home but you have to first pay various fees to get hired.

This summer a bold fraud was perpetrated at the Hinton Dollar General when someone called claiming to be investigating the store and talked an employee in to taking all the store money, buying pre-paid credit cards and turning over the serial numbers to him.

Recall the words of the police chief: if you are sending/giving the serial number on a pre-paid card, you are being ripped off – even if the caller claims to be an FBI agent.

So one more time DO NOT EVER GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO OR A GREEN DOT CARD NUMBER TO ANYONE YOU DON’T KNOW.