AVOID BECOMING THE VICTIM OF A SCAM AND PROTECT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
In the recent months, there have been a number of scams targeting members of our local communities. The Sheriff's Office would like to remind you to never provide personal or identifying information over the telephone, never wire money requested over the phone, or in an email, especially to a foreign address and never purchase gift cards to pay for a service. If you are contacted to pay for a service contact the service provider and inquire about your account before doing anything.
Reports have been received that people are being contacted and told that a loved one is in jail and needs assistance with bonding out - this is more than likely a scam. To avoid becoming a victim ask for the name of the facility and contact the facility directly, ask if the loved one is in fact in jail; detention facilities will advise if your loved one is there or not. Here in Leavenworth County you may also visit the Inmate Roster portion of this website for verification.
IRS imposter scams, Grandparent scams, Lottery and Sweepstakes scams, Publisher's Clearing House scams, and various internet loan scams are common at this time. For information & tips on ways to protect yourself, please visit these resources from the FTC: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0030-pass-it and https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
Remain vigilant and pay attention to the details of all correspondence - if you receive a scam via email, the email will appear to be from someone you know and the content will be very vague, asking you to open an attachment or click a link. Upon opening the attachment, the virus or malware attacks your computer or electronic device, compromising personal information (i.e., identity, bank accounts, contact lists, and passwords). If emails you receive look suspicious, pay attention to the sender's complete email address for verification. A phishing email will often contain minor changes to the sender's email address, in addition to odd spelling or strange formatting.
If you become the victim of a hacked email account, here are some steps you can take to help remedy the situation.
- Disconnect your computer from the internet, scan and clean it with your anti-virus program. Call a professional for help as needed.
- Change your password - and if you used the same password for other accounts, change those as well! Each password should be unique - don't reuse passwords.
- Contact your financial institutions - Credit Card Companies, Banks, etc.
- Notify people you know - they may receive spam emails from you with links/attachments, so inform them to not click anything.
- Change your security questions
- Report the hack to your email provider
- Create a new email account
- Contact credit agencies
- Consider your ID protection options
If you are concerned that you may be or are a victim of identity theft, visit the FTC's resource https://identitytheft.gov/ for more information on the next steps to take and contact your local police department or sheriff's office.
A good rule of thumb regarding scams is: if something seems suspicious or appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. Please share this information with your family and friends - stay vigilant and stay safe.