AG: Tips to avoid common scams
Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023
March 5-11 is National Consumer Protection Week. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said she wants to raise awareness about common scams, as well as share tips on how to avoid and report them.
“In the age of technology, there are many opportunities for scammers, including through gift cards or bitcoin, or on social media and dating apps,” Fitch said. “With tax season around the corner, there is even more opportunity for scammers to pose as government officials. It is important to familiarize yourself with the signs of a scam so you can identify it, avoid it and report it.”
Scammers often pose as government officials, banks or financial institutions asking for personal information or demanding payment by gift card, Fitch said.
“If this happens to you, hang up and don’t click on any links. Government agencies and financial institutions asking for personal information nor ask you to pay with a gift card or bitcoin,” she said. “If someone is telling you to pay with a gift card, it’s a scam.”
Identify, stop and report
• If you paid a scammer with a gift card, tell the company that issued the card right away and report it to law enforcement to help others avoid falling victim.
• A government agency or financial institution will never call you and ask for personal information. If you want to verify the legitimacy of a call, contact the agency or institution with contact information that you have or is publicly available. Do not use the information the caller or emailer provides.
• Be wary of anyone on social media or other online platforms requesting or offering money, loans, or grants. Even if it’s a friend, their account may be hacked.
• If you think you may be interacting with a scammer, block the account and report it to the platform.
• Never mix online dating with investment advice. If someone asks for money on an online dating app, it’s a scam.
• Never accept the help of someone who calls you and offers to help recover the losses in a scam “for a small fee.” Odds are it is the same scam artist coming back for more.
• Don’t share financial information over social media or any other unsecure site.
“Remember, don’t just avoid it, report it. Call law enforcement immediately if you have been victimized. This is your opportunity to stop these scammers and help someone else avoid falling victim,” Fitch said.
You can report scams to firstname.lastname@example.org or file a consumer complaint online at https://www.ago.state.ms.us/divisions/consumer-protection/consumer-complaint-form/