ROCKINGHAM —One local fire department this weekend warned residents to beware of a new scam.
The Rockingham Fire Department posted to its Facebook page Saturday about an apparent scam purporting that the department was selling T-shirts.
The post reads:
“If you get any kind of information in a text or email about the Rockingham Fire Department selling t-shirts or asking for any kind of donations this is a SCAM!! Please do not respond to the text or email!”
Rockingham Mayor John Hutchinson shared the post and said he had received a similar text. He also shared a screenshot of the text.
The number listed on Hutchinson’s screenshot has a northwest Oregon area code.
The Pine City Fire Department in New York reported a similar scam on its Facebook page on Aug. 6 from a different number, but one of the commenters said they received one from the same number associated with the Rockingham scam.
It’s likely that the alleged scammers are using a trick known as “spoofing.”
“Spoofed calls are when a call appears to be coming from one number, but in reality, is coming from a scammer with a different phone number,” the N.C. Attorney General’s office posted in 2018..” Your caller ID may say that an incoming call or text is coming from a local phone number, your own number, or the number of someone you know, but it’s a scam call.
“Scammers use spoofing to hide their identity and convince people that they are legitimate or representing a legitimate business or financial organization, then they ask for personal details or financial information,” the post continues. “Spoofing for the purposes of defrauding or causing harm is illegal. However, because many scammers who spoof calls are located overseas, current regulations make it difficult for law enforcement to track down and stop these callers or for telecomm companies to block these calls.”
The act of trying to steal personal information this way is called phishing.
The Attorney General’s office offers the following tips to keep from becoming a victim:
- Beware of emails or text messages that ask for your personal information like your Social Security Number or bank account number. Don’t reply to the email or text or click on any link. Legitimate companies will not ask you for this information this way.
- Don’t be fooled by real-looking logos or Web sites. Many phishing emails use the logo of a real company and a link to what looks like the company’s actual Web site. Past phishing emails have claimed to come from major companies such as AOL, Earthlink, Paypal, eBay, banks and credit card companies, from non-profits and charities, and from government agencies like the IRS.
- Report phishing to the real business or organization that the scammer pretends to be. Contact the company using a telephone number or Web address you know to be right, not using the contact information in the phishing email or text. Also, forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com.
- Never share personal financial information by email or text message, even with someone you know and trust. Email and texts can be vulnerable to hackers. If you need to share information with a legitimate company, use a secure Web site. Look for a lock icon on the Web site and a Web address that starts with “https.”
- Use antivirus and firewall software on your computer. Don’t open any attachments or download files from emails from people you don’t know.
- Protect yourself quickly. If you respond to a phishing message, contact your bank and credit card company immediately. You could also be a victim of identity theft. Get ID theft help from Attorney General Josh Stein’s office.
Complaints can be filed with the AG’s office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or visiting https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/.