Scams keep surfacing in the county

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
Franklin County, the state and nation, have all been flooded with different scams designed for only one thing: Steal money from unsuspecting people.
The Russellville Police Department receives information various scams circulating through the community almost on a daily basis.
In fact, Russellville has collected files filled with scam letters, Captain David Hester said.
"There are over 900 active scams in the United States, and our area is not immune to these things," Hester said.
Last year alone, $75.5 million was reported lost to scams, and $16.2 million was reported lost to identity theft, Hester said.
Several area residents have reported a sweepstakes scam in the past several weeks. This type of scam is not news to Hester.
"The best advice I can give people is to shred anything they suspect as scam material," Hester said.
While more money is lost to scams, identity theft is quickly becoming the new way to steal from unsuspecting citizens.
Identity theft is sweeping the country, and the county.
"One couple in Russellville applied for a home loan here, and found out they owned two vehicles and a $160,000 home in Arizona," Hester said.
Hester said that it took the couple over a year to get their credit corrected after reporting the theft, and Arizona police arrested and charged the thieves with identity theft.
"The best thing a person can do to protect against identity theft is to shred everything when they throw it away," Hester warned.
In addition to shredding credit card offers and other advertising materials, the general public needs to realize that something as simple as paying with a check may open a window for identity thieves.
"You need to remember that every time you write a check, you are giving out your personal information," Hester said.
Police suggest paying with a debit card instead of using checks, and using the Internet to make reservations instead of over the phone, and be sure to look to make sure the connection is secure when you are giving any financial information.
"When you give out your credit card, debit card, or check information, you don't know if the person you are talking to is looking for a quick way to make a buck," Hester said.

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