Oregon financial regulators say look out for holiday season scams
Scammers might claim that they’re from the government, and you owe taxes; that they’re with a tech support service, and you need to fix your computer; or that you’ve won a prize, but must send money to receive it.
As the holiday season arrives, the state is warning people to be aware of financial scams, particularly those involving gift cards.
The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation said scammers will tell you one of several stories. For example, they might claim that they’re from the government, and you owe taxes; that they’re with a tech support service, and you need to fix your computer; or that you’ve won a prize, but must send money to receive it.
One particular red flag is if the person on the other end of the phone asks to be paid using a gift card, a money transfer or cryptocurrency.
Financial division spokesperson Jason Horton said scammers might even use a voice generated by artificial intelligence to sound like a friend in trouble.
“Senior citizens are getting scammed by these more technologically advanced schemes,” Horton said.
The financial division has several useful rules of thumb, including: Don’t answer unknown numbers. Don’t give personal information to an unsolicited caller. Resist pressure to act immediately.
And be skeptical, sometimes a deal is simply too good to be true.
Experts say that if you are worried about a scam, hang up and use your usual way to contact the family member, bank or government agency the caller claimed to represent.
“Nobody is going to call you and ask for a payment card,” Horton said. “If they say they’re from the government or a utility company, and they’re saying to go buy a gift card and give them the PIN, it’s a scam.”
The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation can help those who’ve fallen victim to a scam at 1-888-877-4894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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