ON GUARD ON LINE (On line safety information)
Ripley County Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth
would like to make the public aware of several scams being
perpetrated locally. There are slight variations to the scams
but they all involve payment or transactions using gift cards.
Block Unwanted, Costly Texts Once you receive an unwanted text determine whether it originated from the Internet, short codes or other wireless numbers – this will help you to report it to your provider or stop it from happening again. Many wireless services have options which can help you block or report unwanted text messages:
Hoosiers who receive unwanted text messages and whose cell phone numbers are on the Indiana Do-Not-Call list can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting www.indianaconsumer.com or by calling 1.888.834.9969. Click here to register your cell phone number on Indiana’s Do-Not-Call list for free.
Online shopping may protect you from traffic jams and long lines at your favorite stores, but financial identity thieves can be lurking behind the next web address or unsecure online connection.
In general, Internet purchases are relatively safe, but there are inherent risks. Here are some helpful tips to keeping your identity and financial information safe while shopping online:
Use a secure Internet connection while making online purchases. A secure connection will have an "s" after the "http" web address and a closed lock icon;
Beware of using a public computer as your information will be stored in its history and the computer may not be free of viruses or mal-ware;
Research the online business you plan to purchase from and confirm their physical address and phone number in case you need to contact them;
Consider using an online payment service, such as PayPal, or your credit card, which protects your transaction under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Many companies do not hold consumers responsible for unauthorized charges made online and some card issuers may provide additional protection benefits;
Save any transaction or confirmation numbers from Internet purchases and make a note of the time and contents of the order; and
The Sheriff would like the citizens of Ripley County to be aware of a few tips to insure that you or a loved one doesn’t become a victim of Identity Theft. In the event that your wallet or purse is lost or stolen, follow these tips to help minimize the damage.
1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED."
3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "Memo" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check-processing channels will not have access to it.
4. Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your Social Security Number printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary.
5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling either here or abroad.
6. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys, do not turn the "keys" in. Take them with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates. Someone with a card reader, or employee of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem whatsoever.
7. Should your credit cards be stolen be prepared to call, however you will need the toll free numbers along with your credit card numbers. Keep all of the information in a safe place.
8. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation.
9. However, here is what is perhaps most important of all. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. The numbers you always need to contact about your wallet and contents being stolen:
13 Things an Identity Thief Won't Tell You
Former identity thieves have confessed some ways they collect personal information used to steal identities. Attorney General Greg Zoeller is sharing these tactics to help Hoosiers protect themselves against identity theft. (Source: Reader's Digest Magazine).
1. Watch your back in line at the grocery store. I’ll hold my phone like I’m looking at the screen and snap your card as you’re using it. Next thing you know, I’m ordering things online—on your dime.
2. That red flag tells the mail carrier—and me—that you have outgoing mail. And that can mean credit card numbers and checks I can reproduce.
3. Check your bank and credit card balances at least once a week. I can do a lot of damage in the 30 days between statements.
4. In Europe, credit cards have an embedded chip and require a PIN, which makes them a lot harder to hack. Here, I can duplicate the magnetic stripe technology with a $50 machine.
5. If a bill doesn’t show up when it’s supposed to, don’t breathe a sigh of relief. Start to wonder if your mail has been stolen.
6. That’s me driving through your neighborhood at 3 a.m. on trash day. I fill my trunk with bags of garbage from different houses, then sort later.
7. You throw away the darnedest things—preapproved credit card applications, old bills, expired credit cards, checking account deposit slips, and crumpled-up job or loan applications with all your personal information.
8. If you see something that looks like it doesn’t belong on the ATM or sticks out from the card slot, walk away. That’s the skimmer I attached to capture your card information and PIN.
9. Why don’t more of you call 888-5-OPTOUT to stop banks from sending you preapproved credit offers? You’re making it way too easy for me.
10. I use your credit cards all the time, and I never get asked for ID. A helpful hint: I’d never use a credit card with a picture on it.
11. I can call the electric company, pose as you, and say, “Hey, I thought I paid this bill. I can’t remember—did I use my Visa or MasterCard? Can you read me back that number?” I have to be in character, but it’s unbelievable what they’ll tell me.
12. Thanks for using your debit card instead of your credit card. Hackers are constantly breaking into retail databases, and debit cards give me direct access to your banking account.
13. Love that new credit card that showed up in your mailbox. If I can’t talk someone at your bank into activating it (and I usually can), I write down the number and put it back. After you’ve activated the card, I start using it.
Sources: Former identity thieves in Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, Virginia, and New York.
If you believe you’ve been scammed, you can file a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division online at www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.
Ripley County Sheriff