HOLBROOK — Chief William Smith and the Holbrook Police Department would like to provide tips to help residents protect themselves from scams throughout the holiday season.
“During the holiday season, more people may become victim to scammers posing as charity workers,” Chief Smith said. “We advise that residents only donate to reputable charities and never give out personal information to any stranger, regardless of what organization they may say they represent.”
To avoid falling victim to holiday scams, Holbrook Police encourage residents to:
- Only complete online purchases from websites you know are legitimate, and do research on any that seem unfamiliar.
- Beware of deals that seem too good to be true, especially those you see in unsolicited emails or on social media.
- Always buy store gift cards directly from those retailers, rather than from the rack at grocery or convenience stores. Scammers can record card numbers and use them to steal the value of a card once they’re sold.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when shopping online.
- Always keep close tabs on your belongings when shopping in public. It can take only a few seconds for thieves to steal wallets and other sensitive items from pockets or purses.
- Verify the authenticity of any charities or causes you wish to support by checking on giving.org or charitynavigator.org.
Additionally, the Holbrook Police Department wishes to share the following scam avoidance tips from the Federal Trade Commission following a recent increase in reports of scams:
- Block calls and texts from unwanted numbers. To learn more about this from the FTC, click here and here.
- Never give out your personal information, especially your social security, bank account or credit card numbers.
- Remember: a legitimate organization won’t unexpectedly ask for your private information.
- Scammers may pressure you to make an immediate decision. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into giving your personal information or paying a fee. A legitimate organization will give you time to make a decision.
- Scammers commonly ask for payment with a gift card or a money transfer service. Take this as a significant red flag- legitimate organizations do not ask for payment in this way. Residents should also never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
- If you’re concerned you’re being targeted by a scam, talk to a family member, friend or neighbor you can trust. Holbrook Police also encourage residents to contact the organization the scam claims to represent to verify whether that is accurate. Contact the organization from a phone number you can verify is legitimate.
- If you need further assistance or may have fallen victim to a scam, contact the Holbrook Police Department at 781-767-1212 and report it to the FTC here as well.
If anyone has any questions or feels that they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Holbrook Police Department.