Safety Tips

Safety Tip #1

Consumer Protection For Seniors

There are numerous scams targeting our senior citizens. These include:

"Phisers" and other identity thieves- they call or email you asking to confirm your bank account numbers and personal information. Do not give out any of this information. Contact your bank directly if you have any concerns.

Bogus charities- Scammers often prey on senior citizens posing as legitimate charities soliciting funds. Do not respond to any email or telephone solicitations for money.

Home repair scams- Scammers often will solicit door to door offering special deals on anything from a new roof to seal coating your driveway. Do not commit to door to door offers and do not let them inside your home for any reason.

Bogus sweepstakes- Scammers often send a letter, email, or phone seniors implying that you have won a sweepstakes. They will often ask for money up front for "taxes" before you can claim your prize. The latest scam involves scammers using the names of government agencies with legitimate telephone numbers to deceive consumers. See the Federal Trade Commission website for a consumer alert with tips to avoid bogus sweepstakes scams.

Government Imposter Scams

Safety Tip #2

Identity Theft

What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft involves the unauthorized use of another person's personal identifying information or financial identifying information to obtain cash, property, or services, or otherwise gain a benefit.

According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission, Colorado ranked #1 in the number of fraud and other complaints made in 2008. The same report showed that Colorado ranked tenth in the number of identity theft reports made in the same time period.

Most Common Forms of ID Theft is placing the red flag on our mailbox in the up position to alert the mailman that there is outgoing mail to be picked up. This alerts identity thieves that there is information available to be stolen.

A trespass to a motor vehicle involves someone breaking into a locked or unlocked vehicle to steal something of value. Identity thieves often break into cars to steal visible wallets and purses, and use any credit cards or account information they find.

Phishing is the deceptive use of e-mail messages, social networking sites, instant messaging sites or cell phone text messages to steal your personal data (date of birth, credit card information, PIN numbers, passwords and more!) You believe the request for information comes from a legitimate source, but the message is from the thief. The message has been designed and written to appear from your financial institution. Your bank will never send you a message via e-mail to ask you to verify or provide account information, but identity thieves use this form of deception to steal and use your information.

Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. The term applies to deception for the purpose of information-gathering or requesting money. Often seen in dating websites, a target victim will be set up by ongoing conversations with a person who seems legitimate, and who hen asks for money to be sent to help them with a catastrophe of some sort, usually a hospital bill or something similar. Sometimes a victim will be targeted via telephone, and the target victim will believe they are speaking to a grandson or granddaughter who needs money to help them get home or out of jail. These are identity thieves too!

Safety Tip #3

Missed a call? One-ring cell phone scam could cost you money

If you pick up your phone and see a missed call from a number you don't recognize, you may want to think twice about calling back.

You could be a potential victim of the growing "one-ring phone scam," which the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned consumers about. As in most phone-based scams, the perpetrators use auto-dialing computer programs to call phones all the country.

In this case, the scammers let the phone ring once - just enough to cause a missed call message pop up on victims' phones - and then hang up. Victims who call the number back are connected to a paid "adult entertainment service' located overseas.

Those unlucky callers are generally charged a $19.95 international call fee up front, plus $9 or more per minute for the unwanted "service." (In some cases the scammers charge only a few bucks to the victim's bill to avoid suspicion.) The BBB recommended that consumers ignore incoming or missed calls from out-of-state phone numbers that they don't recognize, and carefully check cell phone bills.

If you're really tempted to call back that number, Google the number first. Sites like track complaints and questions about calls from specific numbers.

Report any suspicious activity. You can remain anonymous. In an emergency call 911, in Sheridan for a non-emergency, call (303) 762-2211.

Additional Safety Tips

Traveling to and From School Safety Tips (PDF)