Sheriff Tim Wright and staff addresses Tryon Estates Rotarians on Scams

On Tuesday, May 20, Sheriff Tim Wright and his staff gave a presentation on modern day scams to the members of the Rotary Satellite Club of Tryon at Tryon Estates.

Sheriff Wright (second from right) & staff visit Rotary Satellite Club

It was emphasized the scam methods have become greatly sophicated, complex and appealing. Scammers use a wide variety of methods to try to trick the general public into revealing personal information that they can utilize to cheat and steal. Everything from phone calls from individuals claiming to be from government agencies to supposed charitable agencies or just a deal to good be true are utilized in identity theft scams.

It was emphasized that it is best not to answer calls from sources one does not recognize. If one does answer a call, regardless of whom the caller claims to be, just hang up without explanation just as soon as they start asking personal questions. It is against government policy to call individuals to verify personal information. The IRS, Social Security Administration and other government agencies always use written correspondence to contact individuals.

How do scammers use the stolen information? Using identity theft scammers may steal money from your bank accounts, make charges to existing credit cards or open new accounts in your name and run up bills. Everything from home utilities, phones, government benefits, student loans, residential rentals and investment accounts can be at risk. Other areas at risk include tax identify theft, child identity theft and medical identity theft.

An example of the devious methods that a scammer might utilize was given by Detective Pam Cannon, during her presentation, was an offer for a pair professional football tickets and a year of satellite television service for some personal information and a gift card purchased at Wal-Mart and mailed to the caller.

At the conclusion of their presentation the sheriff?s staff distributed a Federal Trade Commission publication on ?Identify Theft ? A Recovery Plan? to the attendees.

Submitted by Mike and Carolyn Dickerson