Sheriff warns of holiday scam

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007

There really is a grinch who wants to steal your Christmas.

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton is warning area residents to be aware of a scam targeting credit card holders. He is urging people to be aware of such illegal activity and remain vigilant against them.

“During the holiday season most citizens will be spending more money to purchase Christmas gifts for family, friends and loved ones,” Sexton said. “Do not give credit card information over the telephone, especially if you are being solicited by a phone call.”

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Sexton said in one instance, the scammer identifies himself or herself as being a representative of a credit card company’s fraud department and has noticed a pattern of unusual activity involving that card and may even say they are conducting a fraud investigation. The scammer sometimes provides information on the potential victim’s card, such as what type of credit card it is (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) and the name of the bank that issued it and asks the potential victim to give specific personal information for identification purposes. The scammer often sounds official.

The scammer often asks the potential victim if they have purchased an anti-telemarketing device.

The scammer asks the potential victim to give him or her the last three digits of a series of numbers on the back of his or her credit card. Once the scammer obtains these numbers, he or she will often ask the potential victim to verify the card has not been lost or stolen.

Sexton said people should never give personal information to unsolicited calls over the phone.

“If they are forceful, arrogant or demanding, it is OK to hang up,” Sexton said. “Do not become a victim of a fraud or scam via telephone solicitation. If you are solicited in such a manner, you should contact your credit card company immediately to report this.”