More than $660,000 was reported stolen from South Carolinians by scam artists over the phone last year, and the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs are advising state residents to be aware of potential criminal activity as we are, historically speaking, in one of the busiest months for these fraudulent activities.
Statistics from last year’s reports indicate March is one of the busiest months for scammers operating in South Carolina. According to SCADA’s 2016 Scam Report, March 2016 was the second most-active month for reported fraudulent attempts, during which more than 240 people – or about eight a day – reported falling victim to one of these scams.
On top of this, South Carolinians reported another $350,000 in unsuccessful scam attempts to SCADA throughout the year.
Most of the time, SCDCA says, scam artists will pose as representatives from an organization the unsuspecting caller might be familiar with, such as the Internal Revenue Service or a technical support company. In other instances, imposters will be even bolder, and pose as a distant relative, like a grandchild. Other commonly used scams include fake lottery or sweepstakes calls, or fake debt collectors trying to scare phone call recipients into making an immediate payment.
To brace themselves against potential scam activity, SCDCA recommends call recipients try to not fall for high-pressure tactics, be suspicious of wire transfer or reloadable debit card payment requests and, in all cases, when in doubt to hang up and follow up. More guidance on how to be aware and respond to phone scams, or most other kinds of scams, can be found in SCDCA’s Ditch The Pitch report, which is located here.
Throughout the year, SCADA also tries to issue “scam alerts” to try to make state residents and businesses aware of any fraudulent activity underway. However, because these criminal activities can be hard to track, SCADA asks anyone who believes they might have been targeted by one of these scams to report the activity to their offices, which can be done by following this link.