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Don’t fall prey to scam artists

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They play different roles, but their devious goal is the same. Scammers are on the rise in Lancaster County.
They often prey on senior citizens, but they will also pursue others, who at the moment might be unaware of their scumbag plot.
In recent local incidents, scam artists have posed as charitable organizations, law enforcement officials, loan officers and sweepstakes companies.
Their goal is to steal your money, but don’t be a victim. Be vigilant of their underhanded game.
No matter your age, you should be alert about scammers who might contact you by phone or through your computer via the Internet.
Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said seniors are a prime target.
“Our senior citizens come from a time when you could trust people who are what they claim to be,” Faile said. “These callers use that sense of trust against them and try to obtain personal information that could be used to gain access to bank accounts, savings accounts, etc.”
Faile’s advice is to verify a caller before giving vital information over the phone or Internet.
“What’s another five minutes to make another call just to be safe,” Faile said.
Most likely that extra few minutes will compensate for hours of regret and the timely task of regaining your identity.
Simply, be suspicious, don’t give out personal information, control the phone conversation and ask questions to make sure the inquirer is legitimate. If you’don’t feel comfortable, end the conversion. The scam artist’s intentions are bad, so don’t worry about being rude. If the phone calls continue, contact law enforcement or your phone service provider.
Seniors should also be aware of those who may prey on your recent misfortune with severe weather damage due to spring storms. Some scammers may stop by your residence to do work, like roof repair from hail damage or to remove a fallen tree or remove debris.
Whatever, make sure the person is legitimate and will do the work. Don’t pay up front, get an estimate and make sure the business is bonded and insured by asking for proper identification.
Scams can happen to anyone, not just seniors, who are often pinpointed due to their trusting nature, but con artists don’t discriminate. They pursue the unwary and their assets.
Scammers, over the last few weeks, have contacted locals about schemes to get fast money by making an investment with a hollow promise of a greater return. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
The key again is to be alert and ask hard questions. Don’t let your hard-earned money be an easy target.