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Holiday scams: What to know and how to avoid them

Posted at 8:31 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 22:31:06-05

TWIN FALLS, Id — The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office officials reminding the Magic Valley community to be cautious of scammers this holiday season.

The latest scam attempts in Twin Falls County regarded late property taxes, missed fines or failed compliance with jury duties in the courts, according to the Twin Falls Sheriff’s Office. These attempts were made through phone calls and sent mail. The scammer asked individuals for prepaid visas and money through a Green Dot account.

Lt. Perry Barnhill said Twin Falls County employees do contact individuals via phone call, but would never ask for money over the call.

“In today’s day and age, just be leery. There’s so many scams going on out there. Do your research,” Barnhill said. “Don’t just send money because someone says you owe money, verify it for yourself first.”

If you find yourself receiving an unusual call, Lt. Barnhill said to ask for their name and a call back number, or reach out directly to the office the scammer claims to be from. Scammers identify themselves as an official authority and use pressure to scare victims into providing them with the information they want.

The Sheriff’s Office said many of these scam cases are almost never solved, which can result in some victims losing their money. The Better Business Bureau sees an increase of scams during the holiday season. One of the prevalent examples is online shopping.

As individuals purchase their holiday presents online, scammers are likely to be more aggressive.

Rebecca Barr with the Better Business Bureau said it can be easy to ignore the red flags of a scam during the holidays.

“Unfortunately around the holiday season we hear about a multitude of different scams spiking during this time period,” Barr said. “And I think a part of it is that our guards are down a little bit. We’re focused on other things.”

With supply chain issues and products on back order, scammers may promote and sell false items. Barr said online shoppers should trust their gut and know when a deal is too good to be true.

To notice red flags, Barr suggests shoppers purchase from reputable companies. Individuals should ensure their checkout screen is secure by looking for the ‘HTTPS’ on their link. The ‘S’ means the site is secure, Barr said.

The Better Business Bureau recommends using a credit card instead of a debit card because it is an extra layer of protection, compared to the debit card directly linking to funds and accounts.

Individuals who find themselves a victim of a scam, should contact their local law enforcement.