Following recently reported scams, the Jacksonville Police Department is asking area residents to beware of potential fraudulent activity.
Intended fraud victims have recently received a call from someone posing as loved ones, the Internal Revenue Service, law enforcement or a banking institution demanding gift cards in exchange for services, according to a press release from the police department.
“Typically, these scammers are targeting senior citizens or intellectually disabled individuals, taking advantage of their vulnerability,” JPD Sgt. Shawn Marcinowsky, a supervisor in the Investigative Services Division, is quoted as saying in the release. “Please talk to your family members, friends and neighbors who may not have heard about these scams.”
Many banks are unable to credit the fraud victims, according to the release, as most situations involve someone overseas and it is extremely difficult for law enforcement to pursue the case.
“If someone demands that you pay them with a gift card, don’t do it. It’s likely to be a scam,” Marcinowsky is quoted as saying.
In addition, scammers came to Eastern North Carolina following Hurricane Florence demanding a down payment for repair or restoration services and did not show up to do or complete the work, according to the release.
The police department offered the following tips to protect yourself against fraudulent activity:
Never give your social security number, credit card or bank account number to anyone you don’t know who contacts you.
Don’t pay money up front to get a loan, collect a prize, or for debt settlement, credit repair or foreclosure help. It’s illegal to require such a payment.
Say no to high-pressure sales pitches. If the offer is only good today, walk away.
Be cautious when responding to telemarketers, door-to-door sellers, and email or text pitches.
Beware of offers that sound too good to be true, or promise huge rewards with little or no risk.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a scam is asked to contact your local law enforcement agency, and complaints can be filed online with the N.C. Attorney General’s Office at NCDOJ.gov.