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Holiday Safety Tips: Protecting Your Identity

Happy holidays everyone! We’rehere with Officer Chavarria with the Medley Police Department who’s going to be sharing with us today some tips and tricks on how to protect our identity. How are you, officer? Fantastic, thanks for having me!

Thank you for joining us! We know that identity theft is becoming very common nowadays. What tips can you give us to protect ourselves from identity theft? We have seen an increase and spike on identity thefts and phone scams. So things to keep in mind is if somebody calls you or from a company that you owe the money and would normally get a phone call, the ones we see from the IRS, you owe us X amount of money, can you wire me the money?

If it doesn’t sound legitimate, it’s okay to tell them I’ll call you back, research the phone number, and call the company themselves to find out if this is legitimate. Usually those companies would not be asking you for personal information.

They should already have it, anything like the social. If they’re asking you for payment over the phone but they’re asking you to go get gift cards, more than you’re required, then that should set off an alarm. Absolutely, and we’ve all gotten those calls.

I got one from the IRS, another one about a warrant, arrest warrants. I’ve had a call where I was given a warrant over the phone and said if I didn’t give up X amount of money, the police were on the way, which I replied, “Well please have them come by.”

Unbelievable, and it’s interesting because in the past I’ve gotten the Nigerian princess scam over email, which is another method that these scammers are using to connect with us and to try and eventually get money out of us. So as far as cyber security, is there any kind of tips you can give us to prevent getting scammed over the internet?

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. So we recommend that you don’t give out your information over the internet, over the phone. Just don’t do it. Yeah, that makes sense because who knows who’s on the other end of that transaction. And we’ve seen a lot of victims fall to that unfortunately, and it’s very sad but it’s preventable.

Well thank you so much for discussing identity theft with us today, and hopefully we’ll see those numbers decreasing because of this educational series that the Medley Police Department is helping us with. Thank you, it’s always a pleasure having you, Officer Chavarria. Thank you! Happy Holidays! Happy Holidays!