El Paso Police dealing with various phone scams

Crime
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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso resident are continually being called by scammers demanding money, the El Paso Police Department said.

Most of the scams try to convince the victim that they could be arrested or have their utility disconnected, police said. A con artist will usually pose as an employee of the IRS or the local utility.

“In-coming calls should be scrutinized, even if the phone numbers on caller ids appear to be actual legitimate numbers,” police said in a news release. “That is because phone numbers can be easily “spoofed” so that caller ids show any number the scammers choose.”

Police say anyone who receives an unsolicited call asking for information should hang up immediately and never give personal information or engage in a conversation. 

The FCC has the following tips for residents:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.  You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.

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