SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It may be the holiday season but that is not stopping scammers from calling your number and trying to get your money.
“We have a lot of people saying that the Social Security Administration is calling them, the IRS is calling. We also have Georgia Power scams that are out there where people are calling and asking for funds before your lights get turned off,” says Corporal Perneacia Banks who is detective in the Financial Crimes Division of the Savannah Police Department.”
Banks says the point is to take you off our guard so that you will give the caller money.
“It is absolutely a scare tactic,” said Banks. “They tend to call late in the evening when customer service offices are closed so you can’t check on your bill if the caller claims it hasn’t been paid.”
Police say don’t make quick decisions to give a stranger money and remember the power company won’t call you and neither will government agencies.
“We want to let people know the Social Security Administration does not call you,” says Banks.
Authorities say crooks ask for quick payments using things like gift cards that are not refundable. If you’re asked to pay your utility bill with a gift card for example, Banks says it’s a red flag so don’t be fooled.
Banks also says if you provide your debit or credit card number to a scammer you should contact your financial institution “to try to stop the transaction if possible.
Banks also says don’t be fooled if callers claim that they are sending someone to your home to arrest you for an unpaid bill. “We don’t go through other companies to announce that we have a warrant for your arrest,” she says.
If you are concerned you may have provided payment or too much information you are advised to make a police report
“Identity theft is the reason why you should call and make a report,” said Banks.
Police say don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize and when in doubt, hang up on someone asking for money.