Identity thieves relentless this time of year

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There are plenty of tricks to scam you, and identity thieves and other seedy types can be quite skillful this busy time of year. So the Charleston Police Department would like to sent out a few reminder of measures to take to secure your personal information. Officers say you need to be especially vigilant when allowing someone to have your personal information this time of year. But the number one biggest mistake people make is to provide personal information, financial information, passwords or other important information to people who call them on the phone, believing the people are who they say they are. Recently CPD has received reports of residents getting a phone call offering to send them a check. The scammer can use a variety of stories as to why you have this alleged money coming to you. But beware: when the caller asks you to send THEM money before they send YOU money it's most likely a scam. In the most recent phone scams, residents are told, before they can get their check, they must send the caller a Western Union check back to them, usually with the excuse they are keeping a small commission for themselves. After the residents sends the check they find out that the check that was sent to them was no good.  CPD also warns of another scam where residents are receiving a phone call letting them know that their computer anti-virus is not working.  The caller offers to refund the money, then states that they will need the person’s credit card and bank account information so they can receive the refund. A third common scam they have been receiving reports on is a person who has been calling students from Eastern Illinois University and telling them they are from the IRS, FBI or both.  The person then tells the student they have been overpaid on their student loan.  If they don’t want to graduate late they need to pay the difference over the phone.  One more scam has been victimizing elderly: a caller states they are a relative and they are in jail either in the United States or in Mexico.  The caller asks the person to send bond money. It's good to go over these scenarios with older members of the family to make sure they are up to speed on the way scammers work. Please remember that the government does not solicit money over the phone and they do not ask you to send them a Western Union, a money order or CVS rewards cards.

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