Scam Squad: Old scams are coming back again

Many winter visitors have reported being inundated with phone calls they never experienced at their summer homes.

Green Valley is a retirement area targeted by fraudsters who want to help you spend your retirement fund. They know you are here and they will continue to call your home with the hope that you will not recognize their true goals.

They will disguise themselves as representatives of government agencies, your utility company and even a helpful worker trying to rectify a billing error.

How can we protect ourselves from these unscrupulous beings? How can we recognize a scam?

First, remember to shred all doctor bills, bank statements and offers from credit card companies as well as utility bills. Shred anything that has personal information, even your home address. Scammers just need a name and address and they can begin a search. Yes, you are still in the phone book but many people sell their homes or move to assisted living or away from the area. Do not give them information or even a simple “yes” when an unknown caller asks, “Mrs. Jones?” It is appropriate to ask, “Who is calling please?”

Remember, you do not have to give any information to an unknown caller. If they insinuate they represent a bank, credit card company or the IRS or any other government agency, hang up! Then call the bank, credit union or government agency the scammer was said to represent. Look it up in the phone book or call information. Do not be intimidated! That is what the fraudster wants to achieve.

The IRS does not want you to confirm Social Security numbers, nor will they inform you that you have a refund coming your way!

Here are some resurrected scams that have turned up again.

Yes, the “Grandma, I am in trouble—please don’t tell my parents—“ has returned. Remember to just hang up and call your grandchild or the parents. If it were your child, you would want to know. That special bond with your grandchild will stay intact along with your bank account.

Who is snooping inside your personal computer to detect a virus? Not Microsoft, not Windows, not any Internet provider! Is it against the law to spy into your computer? Who is calling you with this information and how do they know? Hang up the phone or delete the message.

Do not open any messages from an unknown source no matter how interesting or enticing it appears to be. You may admit a virus by opening or by simply following the direction to “click here for more information.” Once the virus enters your computer it mines information. It may turn your computer into a spamming robot to all your address book friends and relatives. Continue to use your computer fearlessly!

You are now informed and able to recognize a scam. You will never give personal information over the phone to an unsolicited caller. You are in control! You shred, delete and hang up!

Call the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Auxiliary Volunteers with information about scams and frauds. To contact the Scam Squad call 351-6744 or email [email protected]. To report suspicious activity or a particular incident of fraud call 351-4900.