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Green Bay citizens see more Internet, phone scams

Jenna Danner , News Contributor
May 6, 2014
Filed under News

Online scams have been on the rise in the past few months.

According to the website ic3.gov, in 2012 there were 289,847 various reported Internet crimes, equaling about $5 million stolen from people around the world.

While statistics like this give a glimpse into how many scams are going on each year, it’s nearly impossible to calculate an exact number. Many Internet crimes are left unreported.

Ic3.gov lists more specifics on Internet crime complaints and allows a person or third party to report suspicious activity.

Because almost everything can be done online — car shopping and banking, among others — more personal information is being transferred over the Internet, giving scammers more opportunities.

“Auto dealerships are a big thing to watch for,” said Wayne Resch, Branch Manager of UW Credit Union. “Scammers today will imitate real businesses by posting contact info, pictures and prices, leading people to believe they are a legit company.”

This practice is also called phishing.

In a recent scam like this, random people have received phone calls telling them their credit cards have been locked.

In order to have their cards unlocked, they’re told they must give out their Social Security number, card number and other personal information.

“It’s important to remember that if your credit card was truly locked, the bank would not ask you for all of that information,” said Public Safety Officer Chad Kleman. “They would already have it, so they wouldn’t need to collect it from you over the phone.”

A popular on-campus scam involves jobs. Students send in applications to websites that make themselves look credible by posting contact information and making a company website.

While it’s not as popular, another scam on campus involves scholarships.

Students receive emails telling them they have received a scholarship, but in order to accept it, they need to pay an upfront fee between $20 and $50.

“If you need to pay an upfront fee, it’s a scam,” Kleman said. “Plus, it’s a scholarship. They would be giving you money, not the other way around.”

Both Resch and Kleman stressed the importance of keeping social media accounts private.

They said there are four ways people can protect themselves.

The first step is to keep a strong password. This means no last names, first names or dates of birth

Next, they said it’s important to change passwords regularly. This means every 3 to 6 months. Also, keep a different password for each account.

Lastly, they urge students to think before posting or sharing information. This includes posting on Facebook or Twitter about vacations, being gone for an extended period of time and phone numbers.

Public Safety will handle any scams that are happening on-campus.

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