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GUEST COLUMN: Beware of Imposter Scams

The love we have for our children or grandchildren is one of the strongest forces in the universe. I bring this up because there are individuals who will try to exploit this by trying to scam us out of money. Imagine for a second that someone calls your phone and says that your son, daughter, grandchild has been kidnapped and you must send $1,000 dollars for their safe return. Here is another one...you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be friends with your child. They tell you that your son has been arrested and needs $1500 in order to bail them out of jail. And just to keep you from being suspicious...they do not ask for cash...they want Food lion gift cards or some other type of cash card...and just so they do not cause you to be suspicious even more...they say all they need is for you to then email the card numbers and they will take care of the rest.

Another scam recently here in Nash County occurred when a resident received a UPS envelope from an unknown address. Being suspicious, they called police. Sure enough, inside was a letter and a check for $1300. The instructions were to cash the check and mail a portion back to the sender. The problem is...you deposit the check into your account and take out say $500.00 and send them the cash. A couple days later - the check bounces...and you are out the $500.00 plus fees for the bad check.

There are many of these types of scams that people use to separate you from your hard earned money. Playing on your emotional bonds is so much easier than trying to convince you that you won the Algerian Lottery.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) you should:

•Resist the pressure to act quickly.

•Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.

•Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail, especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash--once you send it, you can't get it back.

Anytime someone is asking you to do something, i.e., send them money, give personal information, bank information, tax information, etc., you should be very, very cautious and suspicious. Think about it...if your bank or the IRS called you "wouldn't they already have your information?" For this reason, banks and other financial institutions do not ask customers for this type of information. Whenever you are in doubt...don't give your information out!

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