BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Battle Creek Police have noticed an uptick in the number of online and over-the-phone scams recently.
In order to help prevent neighbors from falling victim to some of these scams, BCPD would like to share the following tips from the Better Business Bureau:
- Never send money as a payment using a gift card, prepaid card, or wire transfer.
- These forms of payment are like cash, and can’t be traced or stopped.
- No major companies, utilities, or government agencies would ask you to pay a bill using a gift card.
- Never share personally-identifiable information with anyone that contacts you unsolicited.
- This could be over the phone, by email, or on social media platforms.
- Caller ID can be altered by hackers, so that it looks like you’re being contacted by a legitimate business.
- You should call a known/verified number or visit a known/verified website for the business in question, to ensure that it is legitimate.
- This information for a business can usually be found on your most recent bill or by completing a simple search on your internet browser.
- Avoid clicking on links, opening attachments, or scanning QR codes from unsolicited emails or text messages.
- These links can install malicious software, called malware, on your computer, phone, tablet, or other electronic device, that allows hackers to steal your personal information from your device.
- Don’t feel pressured into sending money right away.
- Scammers will often use scare tactics in order to pressure you into paying while they are still on the phone with you.
- They might claim that you have or will have a warrant, and may be arrested if you do not pay immediately.
- Never be afraid to hang up and verify the information by calling the business that the caller claimed to be from, using a known/verified phone number (DO NOT use a phone number that the potential scammer may have provided).
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
- Scammers will send you a check for more than the amount that they should have. They will then ask you to cash the check and to send some money back to them. The scammers might even tell you not to tell your bank or credit union.
- These checks will usually bounce a few days after being cashed, causing you to be out of the money that you sent to the scammers.
- These scams are typically seen with online job offerings, fake inheritances, or the purchase of goods sold online.
For more information on how to avoid online and over-the-phone scams, check out the complete list of tips on the Better Business Bureau’s website, at bbb.org/article/scams/8767-bbb-tips-10-steps-to-avoid-scams