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Beware of fraud and scams

The Grinch who’s trying to steal your information

Did you know that fraudulent activity and scam attempts increase during the busy holiday season? Unfortunately, many scam artists target senior communities, preying on the older adults we are called to serve. The sophistication of their scams increases all the time, making it hard to know what is real and what is not.

Just when you’re feeling all “bah humbug,” the Presbyterian Homes & Services Information Technology team is here to help with some reminders for keeping safe against fraudulent attacks and scams.

Email:
  • Always look at the sender’s email address by hovering over it – check the spelling carefully. Malicious emails will often be impersonated to look like they are from a reputable source.  
  • Be cautious about opening emails from senders you don’t know or are not expecting, even seemingly legitimate sources.
  • Legitimate companies don’t request your sensitive information via email.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. Only open email attachments if you’re expecting them and know what they contain. If you are uncertain, you can always call to find out. 
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations or phone calls for this information.

Phone:
  • Be cautious about phone calls from unfamiliar sources.
  • Phishing can and does happen by phone – often with a faked number that looks like it’s from your area or from work.
  • Never give out your personal information to someone who you did not contact yourself or anytime you are unsure.
  • Scam artists often pressure you to respond quickly by giving up your personal info or to wire money. Do not respond to pressure.
  • Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch anything and everything. Hang up. Don’t press any numbers.
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Keep in mind you don’t have to give over the phone.

Gift Cards (’tis the season):
  • Gift cards are a favorite way for scammers to steal people’s money. Anyone who demands that you pay them with a gift card, for any reason, is always a scammer.
  • Buy gift cards from sources you know and trust. Think twice about buying gift cards from online auction sites, to avoid buying fake or stolen cards.
  • Inspect gift cards before you buy. A gift card should have all its protective stickers in place.
  • When you buy, save the receipt. Keeping the gift card receipt can be helpful if you run into problems with the card.
  • Treat gift cards like cash. Report a lost or stolen gift card to the card’s issuer immediately. Most card issuers have toll-free numbers you can find online to report a lost or stolen card. Depending on the card issuer, you may even be able to get some money back.


Remember:
  • Everyone is at risk of scams and you are not alone. Ask for help if you are unsure.
  • If anyone refers to your account being hacked, compromised, cancelled, or locked – either in email or by phone – go check your account yourself by logging into it directly. 
  • Your diligence and thoughtfulness in dealing with all forms of communications is your personal FIRST and BEST defense against all forms of malicious activity!

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