Watch out for porch pirates this season, warn OPP

Porch pirates steal packages left at someone’s house when they aren’t home to receive the package

With Christmas shopping just around the corner, the OPP is reminding the public to watch out for “porch pirates” who steal packages left at someone’s home when they aren’t home to accept the package.

Some tips to keep delivered packages safe:

  • Track deliveries online and try to be at home when a package is delivered.
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to receive your package at the time of delivery.
  • If allowed by an employer, have the packages delivered to your work.
  • Some stores offer an in-store pick-up service that allows you to pick up items from a location closest to you.
  • Consider installing a motion-detection home security system that records video and sends an instant notification of activity to your cell phone.

Some common types of fraud and how to protect yourself:

Urgent Fraud:

Fraudsters use social media, the internet, and phones to target potential victims of the emergency scam. Seniors receive a phone call claiming to be a relative or close friend describing an urgent situation that requires immediate money. Common themes are that the family member (e.g. grandchild) was arrested or had an accident while traveling abroad. Money is needed for hospital expenses, attorney fees or bail. Usually, the potential victim is instructed to send money through a money service company or through prepaid cards, such as Green Dot Money Pack, Pay Safe, or other types of gift cards.

How to protect yourself

  • Confirm with other relatives the whereabouts of the relative or friend.
  • Police, judges or legal entities will never make an urgent request for money.\
  • Never voluntarily give names or details of family members to unknown callers.\
  • Always question urgent requests for money.

Service Fraud:

These frauds often involve offers for telecommunications, internet, finance, medical services and energy services. In addition, extended warranties, insurance, and sales services may fall under this category.

The most common is that consumers are tricked into having their computers cleaned or repaired. Fraudsters call and claim to be a representative of a well-known computer company such as Microsoft, Windows or Apple. The fraudster will claim that the computer is transmitting viruses or has been hacked and needs to be repaired. The fraudster gains remote access to the victim’s computer and can run programs or change settings. The fraudster will state that a fee is required for this service and request payment by credit card or money transfer company. In some cases, the fraudster transfers money from the victim’s computer through a money service company.

How to protect yourself

  • Do not give any personal information.
  • Computer companies will not make proactive outgoing calls for computer repair.
  • Never give cold callers remote access to your computer.
  • Request a callback number, verify and do your due diligence.

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