BENTON, Ark. (News Release)— With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Benton Police Department wants residents to be on high alert for scams of all kinds. In the past few weeks, at least three instances have been reported, but attempts and non-reported incidents are suspected to be a much higher number.
Captain Kevin Russell said the most common scams this time of year (and beyond) involve threats to report you or a family member to authorities if you don’t send a specific amount of money or gift cards, as well as identity theft.
“Two recent cases involved victims giving the scammer large amounts of cash or gift cards- one being promised Bitcoin in return and the other claiming an account had been compromised and gift cards were needed to restore it. The best rule of thumb is to never give personal information or money in any form to anyone over the phone unless you initiate the phone call.”
He added that law enforcement agencies will never call and demand payment over the phone, and when in doubt, check with your local agency.
“We recommend letting the caller leave a message. If it’s important, they will. Otherwise, it’s probably a scam.”
The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office recently released additional tips for avoiding scams to include the following:
“Look for the lock icon on the browser’s status bar, and the abbreviation ‘https’ in the web address to be sure information is secure and to help guard the security of your information as it is transmitted to a website. Be sure your browser has the most up-to-date encryption capabilities by using the latest version available from the manufacturer and check the online merchant’s privacy police before providing personal or
financial information. You should also read and understand return, refund and shipping policies before you make your purchase.”
They add that paying by credit card is the most secure payment method because under federal law, charges can be disputed and consumer liability for theft is limited as long as consumers promptly notify the bank or credit card issuer.
For more tips or information on how to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, visit www.arkansasag.gov.
Russell wants consumers to be alert for counterfeit bills as well and notes that those who have fallen victim to online scams can also file a complaint with IC3.gov, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
“It’s unfortunate we have to issue these reminders, but scammers know people are busy this time of year and with that distraction, sometimes let their guard down and fall victim to their deceptive tactics. When in doubt, always give us a call.”
To report fraudulent activity and scams, call 501-778-1171 or visit BNPD at 114 S. East St. You may also report information by texting CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the message. For general BNPD information, visit www.bentonpolice.org or download the BNPD app on iTunes and Google Play.