Avoiding Scams

Avoiding Scams:

There are numerous types of scams that scammers will use to convince you to give them your information. The easiest way to avoid scams is to never give your information out to someone you do not know and do not give or receive money from people you do not know. Anyone can be a victim of fraud. Criminals can gain access to your information in different ways. Some may steal your physical card if you lose or leave your wallet/ purse unattended. They might obtain your information through phishing scams, which is where criminals will send you an email from what might look like a trusted source, such as your bank, and ask you to provide or confirm your information. They may call you on the phone stating you have won a prize and ask for your information that way. If you do anything with your card online, they can access your information that way. Sometimes your card information can simply be purchased online from a website. Then the offender will use your card to make purchases, obtain loans or housing in your name, pay their bills, or sell it to someone else. The Burlington Police Department strives to help people avoid being the victims of fraud, so below we have provided some tips on how to avoid being scammed. We cannot guarantee you will never be a victim of fraud, but if you follow these basic tips, you can avoid most scams and know what to do if you are a victim of fraud.

Google Play, iTunes, and Other Gift Cards:

One of the most common types of fraud we receive reports of is fraud using Google Play or iTunes gift cards specifically, but it is not limited to only these types of gift cards. Scammers will ask you to go to a store that sells Play or iTunes gift cards, such as a Walmart, and load them with a specific amount of money. Then they will ask you to provide them with the card number either verbally or by sending them a picture of it. They will then use the card without sending you whatever they promised. Scammers do NOT need to have a physical card in order to use it. You should never have to spend money in order to receive money.

  • Never use Google Play or iTunes gift cards to pay for anything outside of the Play or Apple stores.
  • Never share the card number from the back of the gift cards.
  • Never use gift cards for anything except to give them as a gift.

Tips to Avoid Scams:

It is not always possible to avoid being the victim of fraud or a scam. Criminals do their best to make their pitch sound convincing, and your credit card information can be obtained with relative ease. However, there are some basic things you can do to avoid having your identity stolen or falling victim to a scam. We have listed below some basic tips to help you avoid fraud. For more tips, visit here.

  • DO review your bank and credit card statements for irregular amounts or strange purchases, review your personal credit report for new loans or leases that you do not recognize. 
  • DO NOT give your information to people you do not know. Scammers and thieves may contact you by phone, email, mail, or even in person asking you to provide or confirm your information.
  • DO shred or destroy receipts, credit offers, expired credit cards, and any other document that could contain your personal information. This prevents someone from going through your trash and obtaining your information.
  • DO NOT  carry your social security card with you unless necessary, store it and other personal information in a secure location.
  • DO create complex passwords, install firewalls or protection software on your electronic devices, and use your phone's security features.