With the wide availability of new and ever-changing technology, criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to scam people out of money. The Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office is doing everything we can to crack down on these scammers, but most of the time, those responsible are located outside the state, or more often, outside the country. The latest scams seen in our area include phone calls from people posing as the Social Security Administration, saying your Social Security Number has been compromised. Because there is little to no recourse against someone for committing these crimes, the Sheriff’s Office wants to share some helpful tips to avoid getting scammed out of your hard-earned money.
-Wiring money is like giving cash away. If you wire money, there is no protection for you if you later learn that the recipient is not who they claimed to be.
-Never give out personal or banking information in response to a phone, email or mail inquiry. Contact the entity requesting the information directly through a different method to verify that it is a reputable company with which you have an existing relationship.
-Never send money to someone who you do not know and have not met in person.
-When purchasing items or services online, make sure you research the seller and know their physical location.
-If you are giving to charity, especially in the wake of a natural disaster, give to an organization that has a strong history in providing relief. Instead of paying in cash, make a check or money order payable to the charitable organization, not an individual.
-Reputable companies will never ask you to pay using Walmart Gift Cards or the like. And Sweepstakes companies like Publisher’s Clearinghouse will not ask you to send money in order to receive your winnings.
-Most importantly, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Investigate the offer before accepting or paying any money.
If you are contacted by someone you believe to be a scammer, call your local law enforcement agency before you send money. You can also contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division for additional assistance. (Tips listed above were taken from the AG’s website arkansasag.gov)