identity theft

Criminals quickly adapt tactics

Roseville, Calif.- After the whirlwind of the holidays and start of the new year, many of us are preparing to do our tax returns. Since the pandemic started, consumers have had to adjust how they buy groceries, order take out food, and conduct financial transactions.

Criminals are aware of the mass changes and have been quick to adapt their tactics to trap or trick us into giving them our private information.

Here are a few ways you can protect your personal information:

Avoid responding to emails from unknown senders, unfamiliar email addresses, or “odd” looking emails

When you receive an email from a company you do regular business with, check the sender’s email. Confirm that it is a legitimate email address from the company. Do not click any links in the email, rather go to the company’s website to search for the information referenced.

Avoid clicking downloads for unknown applications or games onto your cellphone, laptop, or other mobile device

To download an app or game, go to your device’s app store (e.g., Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store). This can help protect devices from malware or viruses being installed.

Be cautious of pandemic scams

We have seen an increase of vaccine-related scams or health insurance scams. Some scams involve bogus cures, selling of at-home rapid test kits, or charging for tests administered at free testing sites. Check with your insurance company for the latest testing methods.

Beware of Impostor Scams

These are scams when criminals may call and pose as someone from a recognizable company, charity, organization, etc. They may express an urgency to their call due to an overdue bill, compromised account, sick loved one, support for a special cause, or even good news, like winning the lottery. To resolve the problem or address the concern, they will often ask for private and personal information. They may act quickly and brashly, threatening and domineering, or even friendly and complimentary. Avoid scammers that call repeatedly to influence you or try to pass you from one representative to the next to get you to do their bidding. If there’s a true concern, problem with a bill, or compromised account, hang up and call the originating company directly. Contact the charity or non-profit directly if you want to donate to a special cause. Reach out directly to your loved one if you’re concerned about their health.

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Scammers will often try repeatedly until they are successful. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that scammers successfully stole $547 million in 2021. The more difficult we make it for them to succeed with their current strategies, the more likely they are to try new methods.

If you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. If impostor scammers are coming to your door and soliciting and violating Roseville Municipal Code 10.36.030, you can contact Roseville Police Department or file an online crime report.

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