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January 24 12:32 PM

How to respond to unsolicited calls, e-mails

PRESS RELEASE Bossier Sheriff’s Office

Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington advises residents how to respond if you receive an unsolicited phone call, text message or e -mail in the wake of numerous reports of residents receiving calls and text messages about a locked account with WESLA Federal Credit Union.

“Whether it’s a Medicare scam to take advantage of the elderly, a telemarketing scam to cheat people out of their money, or phishing to gain someone’s identity, these types of criminal activities are becoming more prevalent in our society,” said Sheriff Whittington. “But the good news is that there are a few steps you can take in order to protect yourself.”

— Be cautious with your identity. Never give personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, date of birth or Social Security numbers to someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether by phone, e-mail, social media or in person, even if they ask you to “confirm” this information.

— Don’t trust caller ID or 3- mail messages just because they look legitimate. Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen. They also devise letterheads to look like the real thing.

— As the person for their name and phone number. If it’s a scam, the call will likely end there. If they do provide the information, contact the actual business via their official phone number to report what happened.

— It’s OK to say “no thanks” and hang up the phone.

— Contact your local law enforcement agency to report any possible scams or criminal activity. Call either the Bossier Sheriff’s Office at 965-2203 or the Bossier City Police Department at 741- 8605.

Some additional tips: Resist pressure to make a decision immediately on a pressure sales call.

Don’t pay for something just because you’ll get a “free gift.”

Do not respond or click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.

Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If you feel you’ve been victimized, call your bank and credit card companies to explain what happened. The sooner you contact them, the more likely you will be reimbursed for any fraudulent charges on your accounts.

Monitor your bank account and credit card accounts carefully. It may be weeks or months before scammers attempt to use your information, so check it regularly.

Contact the credit reporting agencies — Experian, 888-397- 3742; TransUnion, 800-916-8800; or Equifax, 800-525-6285.

The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is composed of whitecollar crime investigators with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Bossier City Police Department. Sheriff Whittington and Bossier City Chief of Police Shane McWilliams formed the task force by combining resources from both agencies to combat such crimes as identity theft, fraud and embezzlement within the city and parish.

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