With the holidays fast approaching, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre continues to urge residents to watch for signs of scams and report them to law enforcement.
“Scam artists are continuing to plague the hard-working citizens of Lafourche Parish, especially the elderly of our community,” said Sheriff Webre. “Around the holiday season, we usually see an uptick in the number of scams as these criminals prey on the giving nature of our citizens. We urge everyone to watch for signs you might be dealing with a scam artist, and share these signs with friends and family.”
Sheriff Webre offered these examples as signs of a probable scam:
- You are told to send money in order to pay taxes or shipping charges for a larger amount of money or other luxury prize.
- You have to send payment “immediately” via electronic money order or by purchasing a prepaid debit card (i.e. “Green Dot MoneyPak card”) and then giving the caller the number.
- You receive a call from your bank or one of your service providers asking you to send money or give personal information on the phone for some purpose such as a service renewal.
- You receive a call from a law enforcement agency (sheriff’s office, police department, FBI, etc.) telling you to send bail money for a relative, or you are told to pay fines or you will be arrested.
- You receive a call from the IRS stating you have delinquent taxes due and you must wire money immediately or you will go to jail.
- You are told you have been chosen for a federal grant, but are required provide personal information or funding to receive it.
- You are contacted by someone offering new Medicare or medical insurance cards who ask for your current account numbers.
- You receive a check or bank draft from an unknown person who instructs you to cash the check and wire a portion of the money back to them.
- The caller uses offensive or vulgar language.
These safe practices should also be used when dealing with door-to-door salespeople, emails, and online sales and services. As soon as you recognize a possible scam, hang up the phone or shut the door and report the call to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. If you believe the salesman/caller may have been legitimate, such as your bank or a service provider, you can always contact the company yourself at a legitimate number. It is good practice never to give personal information out to an incoming call. If you fall prey to a scammer even once, you will become a repeat target. In many cases, the victim sends money to the scammer, only to receive a second call asking for additional funds.
“The bottom line is to use common sense when giving out personal information and to look for clues such as anything requiring ‘immediate’ action,” said Sheriff Webre. “Before you send money to anyone, ALWAYS validate the origin of the request. If you cannot do so on your own, contact our agency, and we will assist you so that you do not become the next scam victim.”