‘Tis the season of giving, but some people are more interested in taking.
Kevin McKean of the McPherson Police Department said scammers are still out there, looking to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense. He said if someone calls asking for personal information such as credit card or bank information, there’s a good chance something shady is afoot.
“If that happens, ask for a callback number,” McKean said.
McKean said people should also be wary of online marketplaces, such as eBay and Craig’s List, when people offer more money than the asking price.
“Usually you get people who want to whittle it down,” McKean said. “Nobody offers more than what you’re asking.”
McKean said in these situations, the buyer will send a forged check and make off with the item, leaving the seller with nothing.
However, there are steps people can take to avoid being scammed. McKean suggested checking up on anything that seems suspicious with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, the Kansas Securities Commissioner or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The Better Business Bureau and Internet Crime Complaint Center can be found online at www.bbb.org and www.ic3.gov, respectively. The Kansas Securities Commissioner can be contacted at 888-407-2267 (888-40-SCAMS).
Those who believe they are being scammed should not respond to the scammer and cut off all communication with them. Those who have already given away personal information should contact their bank, credit card company or credit bureaus.
McKean said it’s important people check when they think they’re getting scammed so agencies can keep track of where scams are taking place and warn others.
“Anytime it’s reported, we can start keeping track,” McKean said.
Law enforcement may be able to track down scammers, but McKean said this is often difficult because scams originate outside the country, and money will bounce from place to place before arriving at its final destination.
The Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, can also be used to research charitable organizations. According to the Better Business Bureau, the scam of the year in 2012 were fake charities advertised on social media pages.