Cortland Police are warning citizens about a wide variety of phone scams in the area, the most recent of which involved a woman who was tricked into purchasing $800 worth of eBay gift cards to confirm a seat on a flight she had legitimately booked on an earlier date.
Other popular scams involve supposed issues with your social security, which usually require some sort of action or confirmation on your part.
Some scammers even claim to be or know of a family member who is in trouble and needs financial help, or who has been jailed and requires you to take financial steps to take care of them.
Additionally, there are others that say you have won money or have unclaimed funds that require action on your part to collect.
In almost all cases, the fraudulent callers will try and solicit payment through gift cards, credit cards, cash, or other forms of untracked currency.
CPD says the best policy in these cases is to ask the caller for a phone number they can be reached at, and then call the police.
More from City Police Lt. Michael Strangeway:
“The individuals responsible for these scams work hard to convince their victims of the authenticity of their requests. They may have personal information regarding you and/or family members that you don’t believe they could have obtained on their own and that are designed to lend credibility to their stories.
Almost EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU can be obtained from the internet. Whether it is simple and free to the general public or buried in the dark web and available for purchase; personal information about you, your immediate family and even distant relatives is available to those who stand to profit from having it.”
No legitimate company, lottery or government entity will ever contact you by telephone and solicit payment by use of any kind of gift card, prepay credit card, cash or any other form of untracked currency. Period. If you receive a call, regardless of the caller’s story, and the caller wants you to obtain any of the aforesaid items, send cash or cash a check that they send to you and send a portion of the money back to them, it’s a scam.
Do not provide bank account information, credit or debit card numbers to individuals who initiate calls to you. If you can’t absolutely confirm the identity of the person with whom you are speaking, do not provide any personal information.
Numerous area residents have been tricked out of hundreds of dollars and several have lost thousands of dollars to these professional telephone bandits.
If you have any question as to the legitimacy of a call, ask the caller for a telephone number at which you may call them back, then call the police and explain the circumstances.
We can offer advice on whether or not the call is an attempt to steal from you. If the caller will not readily provide you with a telephone number to re-contact them, it’s a scam.”