“See something, say something” is also applying to Brownstown Township law enforcement officers in an effort to protect residents from financial disaster at the hands of scammers.
The department recently posted a warning on its social media account about an increase in con artists operating the “computer tech scam,” also called the refund scam.
Police have seen and heard enough, and now they are asking people to take a look at a video and see for themselves how to recognize the scam.
It might save them the hassle of losing hundreds or thousands of dollars, closing accounts and cleaning up a damaged credit report due to a clever scammer convincing people to give out too much personal information and allowing access to their computer.
“We have seen an increase in the number of scams being perpetrated against our residents,” the department’s post said. “(The Refund Scam video) is 20 minutes, but consider that time as an investment in protecting your financial security.”
Township police highlighted four important points everyone should keep in mind about their financial safety.
To some they might seem obvious, but if the tactics didn’t work, scam artists wouldn’t keep using them.
Scam artists are willing to bet their time and a resident’s money that people won’t remember these four points:
● Hackers can access your computer and drain your bank accounts with minimal information you provide.
● Reputable companies would never ask for payment in the form of gift cards.
● Never give personal information to anyone over the phone.
● Trust your gut. If it seems strange or too good to be true, it probably is.
The video walks viewers through an actual refund scam with a computer tech and an unsuspecting victim.
It details what the scammers ask, why they need certain information and how they trick people out of money using using their online bank account.
It also shows what happens when the victim gets tipped off that he is being scammed and how frustrated the scammer gets when he loses control of the situation.
Some of the pointers in the video include the following:
● If someone gets a call from “your computer maintenance company” saying that they are closing down, you have a refund coming, and they want access to your computer to give you a refund, it’s probably a scam.
● Never allow a stranger remote access. It allows the scammer to make changes to a computer that can block their victims from seeing warnings.
● Don’t enter a user name and password to banking institutions online with an unknown person having access to your computer. They eventually will gain access to your account.
● Once logged into an account, the scammer can lock someone out of their computer and continue searching an account.
By this time, the scammer has created a new password to access the account without anyone’s knowledge.
● The scam works by the scammer making it seem as if they have given a larger refund by mistake.
● In most cases the “mistake” is thousands of dollars and they guide people through a process to refund the overpayment. The scammer will then ask their “customer” to go purchase gift cards to compensate for the overage.
● Once gift cards are purchased and the numbers on the back of the cards are given to the scammer, police say it is nearly impossible to get it back.
● Many of these scammers are located in foreign countries, making their criminal activity exceptionally difficult to pursue.
● The video can be found at youtube.com/watch?v=X4PllvUowaQ.
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