The Trenton Police Department has released tips for avoiding scams. It provides four signs to tell something is a scam.
The first sign is that scammers pretend to be from an organization you know or claim to contact you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, technology company, or charity asking for donations. They use technology to change the phone number appearing on a caller ID, so the name and number you see might not be real.
The second sign something is a scam is that scammers say there is a problem or a prize. They might say you are in trouble with the government, you owe money, someone in your family had an emergency, or there is a virus on your computer. Some scammers say there is a problem with an account, and you need to verify some information. Others will say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay to get it.
The Trenton Police Department reports the third sign something is a scam is that scammers pressure you to act immediately and want you to act before having time to think. If it is by phone, they might tell you not to hang up, so you cannot check their story. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
The fourth sign something is a scam is that scammers tell you to pay a certain way. They might insist you send money through a money transfer company or put money on a gift card and then give them the number on the back. Some will send you a fake check, telling you to deposit it at your bank then tell you to send them money.