SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The Springfield Police Department is seeing an increase in scams. Officers don’t want you to be a victim.
If you are selling or buying something online officers said need to consider meeting people at the Safe Exchange Zone.
It’s a safe spot, with cameras, next to the police station, 321 E Chestnut Expy, Springfield, MO 65802.
Bunnie Warden, who had her identity stolen said you don’t want the trouble.
”It’s too much of a nightmare and too much of a hassle to try to get your own life back,” said Warden.
Warden is an Ozark’s teacher, she said she got caught up in an identity theft scam last year.
“When I first heard about it I was like, oh no, my life is ruined,” said Warden. “They’ve taken my identity, I’m never going to prove who I am.”
Someone got her information and filed for unemployment in her name.
“It can go from great to absolutely horrible in a blink of an eye,” said Warden.
Lt. Jason Laub with SPD said it only takes you a few minutes to check to see if something is off.
“Periodically check on their credit reports, monitor your bank statements, and credit card statements,” said Lt. Laub. “Be aware of any kind of sudden unusual jumps in your in your numbers.”
Warden agrees, check, check, and check again.
“Stay on top of things and don’t give in because once they’ve gotten in and they have ruined your stuff, it’s going to be really hard,” said Warden.
Lt. Laub said to verify any information if it doesn’t feel right.
He said if anyone ever asks for you to pay in crypto currency or gift cards, its a huge red flag.
“The victim is not necessarily familiar with the scam even though it’s a scam that we’ve seen for years,” said Lt. Laub. “It’s just that they just hit so many people all the time.”
He said watch out for suspicious email links, prize winnings, or anything that asks for banking or personal information like your social security number.
Warden said if your information is taken, stay hopeful.
“It’s not going to be an overnight thing and they may not use it overnight,” said Warden. “So just keep your heads up and keep your security in place.”
Police said when using Zelle, Venmo, or Cashapp, verify who you are paying.
Tax season here, file your taxes as soon as you can.
You don’t want scammers to file under your name and get your refund.
If you ever get a call you think is a scam just go with your gut and hang-up.
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