Tuesday tips for staying safe

Don’t get in a jam, avoid being scammed!

Scams over the phone and internet are unfortunately becoming more common. Many times scammers will use social engineering tactics or try to pressure you into making a quick decision. Here are some common signs that the person you are talking to may be trying to scam you.

  • Scammers pretend to be from an organization you know. Many times scammers will pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They may claim to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration or the Police Department and may use technology to change their phone number.
  • Scammers will say that there is a problem or a prize. They might tell you you're in trouble with the government, there is a warrant for your arrest or someone in your family had an emergency. Others may say you won the lottery or a sweepstakes prize but have to pay a fee to get it.
  • They may pressure you to act immediately. Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you are talking on the phone, they may tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story. They may threaten to arrest you, sue you or deport you.
  • Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way. They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Someone may send you a check, tell you to deposit it and then send them the money.
  • Stay away from “guarantees” of scholarships. Reputable groups will not charge for information about scholarships. Steer clear of anyone “guaranteeing” you financial aid for college or vocational school, especially if they insist you pay them for the information first.

Madison College Public Safety Services does not want to see anyone scammed out of their hard earned money. The next time someone contacts you asking for money, or your personal information, remember, it may be a scam! Do your research before agreeing to anything and contact Public Safety Services at 608-245-2222 if you have questions about a suspicious request you feel might be a scam.

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