Recent Scam Alerts & Warnings:
The Federal Trade Commission has posted a Consumer Alert regarding utility payments. The Alert notes that only scammers demand utility payments in cryptocurrency.
The scam goes like this: The consumer gets a call or text from someone pretending to be their utility company. The caller or text says the consumer owes money (which is a lie). The scammers then send the consumer a text—sometimes including their utility company's logo—with a QR code and tell the consumer to scan it at a Bitcoin ATM to make a payment or their service will be disconnected.
No utility company will text about a shut-off, and no utility company will demand payment in cryptocurrency. Those are scams. Before it shuts off service, all real utility companies will notify their customer in writing and offer a repayment plan.
There has been a significant increase in mail theft around the Greater Capital Region. Criminals have been targeting residential mailboxes, as well as U.S. Postal mailboxes stealing mail to obtain checks, credit cards, and debit cards, among other items.
Ways to Prevent Mail Theft:
- Deposit outgoing mail in slots inside post offices or hand it to mail carriers.
- Remove mail from boxes every day, as soon as possible.
- Do not place outgoing mail in your mail overnight or for any length of unattended time.
- If you change your address, immediately notify the U.S. Postal Service and any company with which you do business.
- Request a vacation hold even if you will be gone for just a few days. This can be done at a post office or online at holdmail.usps.com/holdmail.
- Do not send cash in the mail.
What To Do If You Are a Victim of Mail Theft:
- Report mail theft immediately to police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 800-275-8777 (not your local post office).
- Immediately notify your financial institution if you think any checks may have been stolen.
We have been made aware of a significant increase in larcenies from vehicles around the Greater Capital Region. Criminals have been targeting country clubs and golf courses posing as members, breaking into locked and unlocked vehicles, stealing driver’s licenses, checks, credit cards, debit cards and cash, among other items. Moreover, fitness centers, parks, and other public places have also been targeted.
Ways to Prevent a Vehicle Break-In:
- Remain vigilant and do not leave valuables in your vehicles, even if you hide them, criminals will find them.
- Keep your vehicles locked. This applies to parking lots as well as driveways.
- When parked, leave all windows-including sunroof-closed.
- Park your vehicle in an area that’s highly visible to the public.
- Park in an area that has good lighting.
- Report any suspicious activity immediately to the police, this includes suspicious person(s) and vehicle(s).
- Try to obtain a good physical description of the person and vehicle description.
What to do if you are a victim of a Vehicle Break-In:
- Report the break-in to the police as soon as you become aware of it.
- Have a detailed list of anything missing.
- Immediately notify your financial institution if your driver’s license, checkbook, credit, and/or debit card or any other form of identification that may have been stolen.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
- Do not give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you did not expect. Legitimate organizations will not call, email or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security Number, bank account, or credit card numbers.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools that you can use. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls by default. More information about robocall blocking is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.
- File a complaint with the FCC.
- Notify your financial institution immediately if you have been a victim of fraud.
What To Do if You Were Scammed
Follow these steps from the Federal Trade Commission if you were a victim of a scam.