MONMOUTH — When it comes to people trying to get personal information of any kind, it is not rude to just hang up, close the door or delete an email.
In fact, it’s the smartest thing to do, said Ellen Klem, director of consumer outreach and education for the Office of the Attorney General, at a presentation about how to protect against fraud at the Monmouth Senior Center on Monday.
“If Rachel from Card Holder Services calls and asks you to press 1 to be removed from the call list, just hang up,” she said.
Pressing 1 may remove you from that list, but it sells your phone number and information to 200 other scammers. Even setting the phone down in front of the TV or making loud noises lets her know you’re home, Klem noted.
She said people who commit crimes of fraud cast a wide net, hoping to catch one or two people who will send money.
Another thing scammers say they look for is “no trespassing” signs in urban areas. These signs tell the scammer that the person living there is probably older, single and has no pets, Klem said.
Many of the people in the audience on Monday shared stories of how they’d been victims of scam — or how they avoided it.
One man said he leaves the names of other relatives living with him on his message machine, even though he lives alone.
If you think you are being exposed to a scam, or have fallen victim to one, call your local police department or Department of Justice at 1-877-877-9392. For more information: oregonconsumer.org.
Don’t Be a Victim
Ellen Klem of the Department of Justice offers these six “red flags” that something is a scam:
• Receiving a phone call, letter, email or someone at your door out of the blue, unexpected or uninvited.
• The scammer has invented some kind of emergency or urgent situation.
• Request for personal/financial information, or asking you to click on something online that you don’t know what it is.
• Asking you to wire money or send a prepaid cash card.
• The scammer will include a level of secrecy, such as this is a one-time special offer just for you, don’t tell anyone else.
• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Klem said the facts and story might change, but these six signs point to a scam 99 percent of the time.