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HAPPENINGS: Newer scams include Amazon and other package verification, gift card payments

CRESTVIEW — Because I am not much of a cell phone user and have an older phone, I don't tend to get the scam texts and calls that my husband receives on his cell phone. One of the latest scams involves an Amazon delivery by UPS or other delivery service trying to get personal financial or credit card information.

Generally, the scenario is that a package you ordered is on hold at the delivery station until you verify the delivery address, and in many instances, you must verify the credit card number used for the purchase.

Of course you won't remember making this purchase because you didn't — it is all a scam. This particular scam aims at getting your address and credit card number so the thief can charge up hundreds of dollars on your credit card.

Another variation on this scam is an old, recycled version. Supposedly hackers have gotten hold of your bank account and have been stealing money and in order to get the package delivered, you must pay for it again with gift cards.

You are instructed to buy gift cards and call the scammers back with the identification numbers on the back of the gift card, along with the PIN number. Once you give the required information, your money is gone. If someone calls, texts or emails requesting payment with gift cards, that is a sure sign of a scam being perpetuated. Remember, neither the Internal Revenue Service nor the court system take gift cards as payment for outstanding debts.

A legitimate business never requires payment through Western Union wire transfers, gift cards or any other sketchy financial means. Also, please don't answer calls from phone numbers that you don't know.

If the call is legitimate, the person will leave a message and you can call them back. If the call is from a financial institution, never use the phone number left on your answering machine or text message. Get out your bank statement or credit card statement and call back using the pre-printed phone number.

Never give out any personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and are certain that you are speaking with a legitimate employee of the business you are calling.

Don't ever give remote access to your computer to someone that calls and states they can tell you are having computer issues and for a low fee they can fix it. These people are looking to steal your banking and credit card information from your computer. These calls are always a scam.

If your computer is acting up, take it to a reputable computer repair facility.

Has your identity been compromised?

From the website, here are warning signs your identity has been stolen or compromised. If you feel your identity has been stolen, there are many helpful tips on this website to help. Here are a few of them.

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account."

Please stay safe and protect your financial identity.

Janice Lynn Crose

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: HAPPENINGS: Newer scams include Amazon and other package verification, gift card payments