There are various "cons" and "scams", too numerous to mention, which attempt to make direct contact with and pry information from people in our community to take advantage and profit by stealing finances and identity. These criminal "crooks" can be local, or operate internationally from outside the U.S. outside of local law enforcement jurisdiction.
There are some relatively simple steps which can be followed to prevent falling "prey" to these. It is the practice of official government agencies to ALWAYS document their actions in the course of their legitimate business; established having accountability. Based on this premise, we ask you to do the following whenever contacted by an unexpected communication which is soliciting in nature:
- REQUEST that the details of the conversation be sent to you IN WRITING before you provide any answers of commitment. Most generally, a mailing will precede a phone call, and they can reference that previous letter which should have A CASE TRACKING NUMBER to follow-up with. The entity calling, if legitimate, should have a valid address associated with the name in file.
171 Park St
Lewiston ME 04240
(207) 783-3373 (fax)
Emergency Dial 9-1-1
- NEVER give out personal information to a contact or solicitation which you did not initiate to engage (THAT INCLUDES YOUR NAME which a scam artist may not even know). If an official agency has your phone number, they also have your name, address, and any other of that sort of information which is pertinent for their business with you. MAKE THE PERSON CALLING RECITE TO VERIFY THEIR INFORMATION TO YOU, and don't correct them if they have it mostly wrong with details which have never applied to you - Hang up!
- ONLY make contact with your banking institution using the number(s) provided to you for customer service on your issued card or statement.
- ONLY contact government agencies using the number(s) which they officially advertise to conduct their business. Don't necessarily accept the information showing on your caller ID as being accurate. If suspicious of the nature of the communication, ask for the name of a local branch office supervisor and terminate to directly initiate a follow-up communication yourself; dialing the officially advertised or published number for the local office.
As tempting as it may seem, the FBI (or any other official government agency) is not going to send you an email with the approach to assist and facilitate the transfer of a mysterious winning of a large amount of money which you were selected at random to receive... When you do receive any such email, DO NOT CLICK ON TO OPEN ANY ATTACHMENT OR LINK; DO NOT REPLY OR MAKE CONTACT WITH THE SENDER: DELETE IT, and empty your trash; then be a good friend and engage your connections on social media and family members to share with them the fact that there is a scam going around. That not only alerts people you care about, but gives you the opportunity to have the last laugh over it in good company!