5 Tips For Thwarting A Government Imposter Scam
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Fraudsters want your hard-earned money, and they will use every trick available to accomplish their mission.
Sometimes, scammers will pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. Victory State Bank is urging our friends and neighbors to be alert when it comes to any solicitations regarding an exchange of money.
According the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), thieves may try to temp you by promising lottery winnings if you pay “taxes” or other fees, or they might threaten you with arrest or a lawsuit if you don’t pay a supposed debt. Regardless of the tactics, the goal of scammers is the same: To get you to send them money.
With this in mind, Victory State Bank is echoing the warning of the FTC: Don’t part with your money.
Federal government agencies and federal employees don’t ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans.
Nor are they permitted to ask you to wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for anything.
The FTC suggests the following five tips for beating a government imposter scam:
- DON’T WIRE MONEY
Scammers often pressure people into wiring money, or strongly suggest that people put money on a prepaid debit card and send it to them. Why? It’s like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back.
Never deposit a “winnings” check and wire money back, either. The check is a fake, no matter how good it looks, and you will owe the bank any money you withdraw.
And don’t share your account information, or send a check or money order using an overnight delivery or courier service. Con artists recommend these services so they can get your money before you realize you’ve been cheated.
- DON’T PAY FOR A PRIZE
If you enter and win a legitimate sweepstakes, you don’t have to pay insurance, taxes, or shipping charges to collect your prize. If you have to pay, it’s not a prize. And companies, including Lloyd’s of London, don’t insure delivery of sweepstakes winnings.
If you didn’t enter a sweepstakes or lottery, then you can’t have won.
Remember that it’s illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or over the phone.
- DON’T GIVE THE CALLER FINANCIALOR OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION\
Never give out or confirm financial or other sensitive information, including your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number, unless you know who you're dealing with. Scam artists, like fake debt collectors, can use your information to commit identity theft — charging your existing credit cards, opening new credit card, checking, or savings accounts, writing fraudulent checks, or taking out loans in your name.
If you get a call about a debt that may be legitimate — but you think the collector may not be — contact the company you owe money to about the calls.
- DON’T TRUST A NAME OR NUMBER
Con artists use official-sounding names to make you trust them. It’s illegal for any promoter to lie about an affiliation with — or an endorsement by — a government agency or any other well-known organization. No matter how convincing their story — or their stationery — they're lying.
No legitimate government official will ask you to send money to collect a prize, and they won’t call to collect your debt.
To make their call seem legitimate, scammers also use Internet technology to disguise their area code. So even though it may look like they’re calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
- PUT YOUR NUMBER ON THE NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY
Ok, so this won’t stop scammers from calling. But it should make you skeptical of calls you get from out of the blue.
Most legitimate sales people generally honor the Do Not Call list. Scammers ignore it. Putting your number on the list helps to “screen” your calls for legitimacy and reduce the number of legitimate telemarketing calls you get. Register your phone number at donotcall.gov.
More information about government imposter scams may be found online at FTC.gov.
About Victory State Bank
VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.
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