What are South Dakota Phone Scams?
A phone scam involves a scammer using phone services to unlawfully acquire money, information, or both from South Dakota residents. These individuals are trained in the art of deception, and they often use technology to disguise their real identities. In South Dakota, scam calls are prohibited, and individuals who have been targeted by scammers may report to the local police department. In South Dakota, there are several phone scams, and here are a few of these scams:
- Grandparent scam - South Dakota Grandparents scams often target the elderly. It occurs when a scammer posing as a police officer from another country informs the target that their grandchild is in prison. The scammer proposes that the target's grandchild will be released if they pay some amount of money. Some scammers may pose as the target's grandchild, but this requires that they substantially know the target. Residents are advised to verify from other family members before sending money to anyone claiming to be family.
- Vacation, Lottery, and Prize scam- scammers can inform the target that they won a prize over the phone. The prize is usually a cruise, vacation to exotic locations, or popular travel spots. Scammers often tell the victim to pay a fee to claim the prize. Sometimes, they may even promise to give the target another reward as soon as they make the payment.
- Fake check scams- check scams are usually targeted at online sellers. Fake check scams can occur in different forms. The most common is when you sell something over the internet, and the buyer sends you a check that is worth more than what they bought. They tell the individual that the excess is for their shipper and that the target can help them settle the debt. The individual is tricked into believing the checks are genuine. Hence they make the payment with their money. However, the target will realize that they have been scammed when they present the check to their bank.
- Lower interest rate scam- this occurs when a scammer informs the target they can help reduce the interest rate on their credit card. Scammers may ask for your credit card number and expiration date to help the target, but this is a trick to enable them to take the target's credit card number and make charges against the account.
The South Dakota Office of the Attorney General has asked victims of phone scams in the state to do the following:
- Stop all contact with the scammer immediately.
- Contact the bank or financial institution the money was sent to and ask if they have the policy to cancel fraudulent transactions.
- Report to the Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Office. Residents may call 605-77-4450 or 800 300-1986. Residents can also report special phone scams to federal agencies like the Federal Trade Commission.
What are Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Imposter Scams
South Dakota IRS scam starts when a caller uses caller ID spoofing and contacts a target pretending to work for the IRS. The scammer claims the target owes the IRS an additional tax that they must pay immediately. Scammers ask the victim to pay with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer and often threaten them with arrest. The IRS does not call to demand immediate action or action, nor will they involve law enforcement on their first contact with the person. Also, the IRS sends a notification to the individual's mail before any call is made.
Residents can verify Information from supposed IRS officials. The call recipient may ask the caller to provide their name, badge number, and call back number. Residents may contact the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 to confirm if the caller is an IRS official. Individuals may also verify certain information on the IRS website.
What are Tech Support Scams
South Dakota tech support scams occur when a caller pretends to work for Microsoft or any other reputable tech company. The caller informs the target that their computer has a virus and persuades them to visit a website to grant them access to the computer. Tech companies do not monitor customers' computers or offer to help individuals with viruses.
Scammers trick victims into granting them access to the target's computer to steal money or information from them. Residents must identify this as one of the red flags of tech scams. Once they are granted access, the scammers may install malware on the device and charge a fee for their services. Sometimes all they need is the victim's password and username. They may sell personal information to others for financial gain.
What are Utility Companies Scams
Scammers impersonate a public utility worker to defraud innocent individuals. Con artists call their target to inform them of some monthly payments they have missed. Also, the individuals are asked to pay immediately or risk having their utilities cut off. In South Dakota, a public utility company may call a resident to inform them of a loss of service notification and back payment, but they will not call for payment over the phone.
Individuals who have received a call from anyone claiming to represent their utility company should hang up and call their utility company directly. The resident may visit the South Dakota Public Utility Commission website to get registered public utility companies’ contact information in the state.
What are Jury Duty and Warrant Scams
Con artists can impersonate the FBI, sheriff, or local police department to make victims panic and steal personal information from them. Scammers may inform the target that they skipped a jury duty or that they committed a crime. The call recipient is then asked to pay a fine to avoid going to jail for the crime. Individuals are asked to pay using their credit card to ensure the payment is difficult to trace. South Dakota law enforcement officers will not call and demand that an individual immediately pays a fine over the phone; instead, they are more likely to request that you go to a station to pay any fine.
How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?
Residents of South Dakota are exposed to different types of phone calls every day. With the advance in technology, scammers can make scam calls from anywhere globally without appearing to call from another country. Technology has also made it easier for scammers to identify targets before engaging them in a fraudulent call. The South Dakota Attorney General has advised residents to stay alert and be conscious of scam tricks. Consequently, the Attorney General has listed the following tips to help protect residents from phone scams. They include:
- Never give out personal information to anyone over the telephone. Financial institutions never demand the information they already have.
- Do not send or give money to someone you have not met before the solicitation. Contact your financial institution for advice before transferring money to anyone.
- Identify unknown callers by searching their phone numbers with reverse phone lookup services.
- Do not believe everything that is advertised as sweepstakes, free trials, or free products. Residents should hang up if the caller talks about a lottery they never applied for.
- Enroll your phone numbers with the South Dakota Registry, or National Do Not Call Registry.
- Hang up immediately you realize a call is a robocall. Be skeptical about offers that seem too good to be true, especially when it is not the holidays.
- Get a security freeze on credit cards. This ensures that nobody uses the card without your permission.
- Resist high-pressure tactics from callers. Hang up if the caller insists that you make a hasty decision for an offer.