This week Newberry NOTES features S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs with Juliana Harris, director of Public Relations. She will review the State Agency that is designed to represent the interest of consumers throughout South Carolina. She will give an account of over 700 scams reported to the agency in the first half of 2017.
The S.C. Consumer Affairs is releasing its latest scam report, highlighting the top scams in the state during the first and second quarters of 2017. The Consumer Affairs Identity Theft Unit fielded over 750 report calls between January 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017.
Over half of the reported scams were imposter scams (46 percent), while the debt collection and sweepstakes scams tied for second place with 11% each. In total, consumers reported actual loses of over $750,000 from scams, and potential loss of more than $760,000 by those who did not fall victim to the scams they reported.
Scam reporting is important steps in helping SCDCA empower consumers to recognize and avoid scams. To report a scam, obtain a copy of “Ditch the Pitch”, or view a scam report in its entirety , call 844-8 35-5322 or visit www.consumer.sc.gov, then click Report a Scam.
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine sophisticated d technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. They add new tricks to old schemes and pressure people to make important decisions on the spot. One thing that never changes: they follow headlines — and the money.
Scammers will pose as an organization or person you are familiar with and may ask for money or personal information. The IRS, grandparent, and tech support scams are very common examples of fraudsters pretending to be someone they aren’t to gain your trust.
Fake lottery/sweepstakes offers generally come from a cold caller, but can just as easily show up in your mailbox. It’s illegal to play in a foreign lottery and remember, you cannot win a prize if you never the contest!
Debt collection scammers will use scare tactics to get you to debt right now! Other red flags include: asking you to verify sensitive information like your social security, number offering to settle the debt for much less, threatening to arrest you or asking for untraceable methods like ITune gift cards or wire transfer requests.
About SCDCA: The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the market place through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov
Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.