BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — If you find yourself on social media, you may notice advertisements regarding free items, you just pay shipping and handling. Many are scams asking for your credit card information or other personal information.
Josh VanGilder lives in Raleigh County. He said these scams are all over social media.
“They’re on there every day,” VanGilder said. “They range from claim your IRS money to claim your lost items and it’s nonstop.”
Falling for these scams can hurt you, especially if you are already financially strained. They can max out your cards or even empty your bank account.
Beckley Police Lieutenant Jason McDaniel said if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“You have to realize you aren’t going to get anything for free,” McDaniel said. “If it’s coming from your email, from your text messaging, if you didn’t solicit it, delete it.”
Both McDaniel and VanGilder said using common sense can help you avoid getting scammed.
“I mean who’s going to call you and ask for your information over the phone,” VanGilder said. “A lot of them will call and ask for iTunes gift cards or Target gift cards, that’s how you can pay it. They also say you owe the government money. The government isn’t going to call you. They’re going to send you official letters with seals.”
McDaniel said the reason these scams are seen frequently is because they work. He added many of these scams originate from other countries.
“If I have nothing to do but sit for 12 hours a day sending out emails, making phone calls, sending out text messages, I won’t get the thousands of people I call every day,” McDaniel said. “But, if I get one or two, I just made my wages for the day.”
McDaniel said the best thing to do is stay vigilant and delete any emails or text messages asking for your information you did not request.
McDaniel said if you do fall for a scam, you can report it to your local police department. You should also contact your card company to cancel the card.