FREMONT – With the holiday season involving the purchases of many gifts and supporting various charitable organizations, law enforcement agencies are cautioning citizens to be on the lookout for scams.
Lt. Ed Watts with the Fremont Police Department says there isn’t an increase in the amount of scams around this time of year, but they do see more scams adapting to the holiday season. He says with people making more purchases online or in the store everyone should pay extra attention to their bank account records for any unauthorized transactions. He adds people should also be aware of scams posing as charities.
“Criminals know that people, generally, are more charitable during the holidays,” said Lt. Watts. “We can expect that people will receive phone calls or text messages from people portraying themselves as a charitable organization making donations in an attempt to obtain a victim’s bank account information.”
Lt. Watts says there are certain ways people can tell if an organization is a legitimate charity or not.
“Some things to be cognizant for are people who represent a charitable organization and asking for your debit card number or checking account number, especially over the phone,” warned Lt. Watts. “Any legitimate organization will have a website that you can look at. It will full explain the company’s mission and where the donated money is being allocated.”
If anyone falls victim to a scam, Lt. Watts says there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself.
“First of all, end all communication with the person that you did business with immediately. You might be tricked into sending more money with the promise from the person that they will remedy the situation,” said Lt. Watts. “Then you should contact your banking institution immediately and tell them that you believe you were scammed. The bank can put a hold on your account to protect the money that you have. You should then contact your local police department and make a complaint.”
Lt. Watts adds you can also file a fraud report with one of the three major Credit Bureaus, and request a freeze on your credit report to deter any new and unauthorized credit card accounts from being opened in your name.