‘Using a new playbook,’ scammers getting more creative

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Scammers are getting more creative and tricky while taking advantage of people on “Giving Tuesday”.

The day is when people around the globe people to celebrate charities and give money to help their different missions.

“Double and triple check before you spend a dime,” says Unified Police Department Sgt. Melody Cutler.

The Utah Department of Commerce say Utahns lose millions of dollars yearly from scams.

“Easy money,” Cutler shares.

Scammers receive money that should be going to better things, like charities, especially during Giving Tuesday.

“Especially today, with it being Giving Tuesday, and people are feeling more generous absolutely,” Cutler says. “Sometimes there is more of a spin on it.”

The spin, according to Unified Police, is that scammers are getting creative.

Sgt. Cutler says scammers will keep you on the phone longer, even use a phone number that looks familiar and ask for large amounts of cash or gift cards.

“It’s like there’s a playbook that scammers have and they figure out how to use that playbook for whatever the given situation is,” shares The Utah Department of Commerce Director of Division of Consumer Protection Daniel O’Bannon.

That playbook can be tricky so Sgt. Cutler has some recommendations to avoid being scammed:

  • Make sure the phone number and person’s job title is legitimate
  • Police and IRS will not ask for money over the phone
  • If you donate to a charity, it has to be registered with Utah
  • If it feels like a scam, it’s probably a scam

“That’s why we encourage people to slow down and take a few minutes to do some homework,” says O’Bannon.

Cutler says once the money or gift card has been given to the scammer, it is most likely gone. She said police will investigate, but no promises that the money will be returned.

“We know as well sometimes this is embarrassing for people, but please report it,” says Cutler.  

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