Fast facts from Newport Beach Police to keep our community safe

Courtesy of NBPD

How Scammers Operate and What You can Do to Protect Yourself

While scams can take on many forms, there are a couple things that they tend to have in common. There are also some universal steps you can take to protect yourself if you are approached about providing your money, another form of payment, or personal information.

Here are three things you should know about how scammers operate:

1. Scammers will claim to be someone you trust or from an organization you are familiar with. You might get an email that looks like it’s from your bank or a company whose products you use. Or you may get a phone call from someone saying they’re with a government agency or a charity or even claiming to be your grandchild.

2. Scammers will play on your emotions and create a sense of urgency. They claim there is some problem or emergency to scare you. Or they claim that you won some sort of prize or have a “once in a lifetime” opportunity – to make you excited. Whatever their tactic, they are trying to make you feel like you need to act immediately.

3. Scammers pressure you into acting quickly before you have time to question them. They may try to convince you to stay on the phone with them so you can’t check out their story. They might attempt to scare you by saying your utilities or your computer will be shut off. Some scammers claim that you will be arrested or your license will be taken away. Scammers are trying to get money or personal information from you.

Here’s what you can do:

Stop. Check it out. Do not give out any personal information until you have verified the identity of the caller.  For calls from alleged government agencies or utility companies: Ask the caller for their name, department and business phone number. Confirm that information by calling the organization at a phone number found on the internet or through official correspondence/billing statements. If the caller refuses to provide this information, terminate the call immediately. In personal situations, try to contact the loved one who you are concerned about, or call friends or another family member before you send any money or give out personal information.

Keep your information safe. Never give out personal identifying information, such as your social security number, bank account or credit card account numbers, to anyone you do not know.

Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have received one of these calls, but chances are that you know someone who will, if they have not already.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam through the mail, contact the Postal Inspector at 877.876.2455.

If you believe you have been the victim of another type of scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at

This series is courtesy of the Newport Beach Police Department.


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