Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Rebecca M. Alesia is urging residents to be alert to the increase of reported telephone scams intent on extracting personal information and money from the unsuspecting. According to Councilwoman Alesia, the most common scams recently reported often involve scammers posing as officials from the Internal Revenue Service, the Attorney General’s Office or other widely recognized agency and frequently target seniors, students, and first-generation Americans. Scammers have also been known to pose as family members in trouble and seeking money.
“The last thing families need is to be scammed out of their hard-earned money,” said Councilwoman Alesia. “It is shameful that scam artists target people with bogus threats and scare tactics, but awareness and following some basic tips can help you fight back and stay safe.”
Councilwoman Alesia said residents can avoid becoming a phone scam victim by only giving out personal information on the phone when you have initiated the call.
“Never give out personal information when you receive an unsolicited call no matter what the caller ID indicates,” Councilwoman Alesia said. “Also beware if a caller asks to keep a conversation a secret. If a caller claims to be from the government, a bank, or a family member, requests for confidentiality should immediately raise credibility concerns.”
You don’t need to be polite when you receive a questionable unsolicited call. The safest course of action is to say “No” and simply hang up.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the following tips to residents who fall victim to scam phone calls:
- Hang up the phone. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list.
- Consider asking your phone company whether they charge for blocking phone numbers.
- Report your experience to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
“Remember that it is better to be overly guarded than to fall victim,” Councilwoman Alesia said. “Be skeptical of any offer or deal that sounds too good to be true, because it probably is.”