Protect yourself from common scams and frauds by learning how to recognize and avoid them.
Scams have always existed, but with the recent advance in technology, it has never been easier for scammers to reach out to victims.
If you receive a call or an online request for a verification of personal information, do not provide it. If you are being asked for a payment of some kind, do not provide it. Scammers are very savvy and can make requests for information and money seem real and legitimate. They can spoof or fake email addresses, phone numbers and letter head.
When in doubt, hang up. Scammers are pushy. They create a sense of urgency and use scare tactics to get you to give your information. If you feel like you are being pressured to make a payment or verify information, hang-up. You can always call banks, government agencies or other institutions back on a verified phone number that you know to be correct and speak to someone in person.
Here are some common scare tactics used by scammers:
The City of Hayward does not call and request payment from customers. If non-payment is received after the final notice, a closed account notice is sent to the Collections Bureau of America (CBA). This process is completed semi-annually. Once in collections, customers may receive a phone call from CBA requesting payment of delinquent bills.
Legitimate businesses and creditors will never tell you how to pay for something. They will not demand you pay a bill via a gift card. Scammers request these types of transactions because once made, the money can be immediately withdrawn by the scammer anywhere in the world and is often untraceable.
If a seller of an item requests a deposit for a product or service, sight unseen, there is a high likelihood you are being scammed. This also counts for payments on money transfers, and are common components of Lottery, sweepstakes and inheritance scams.
Scammers are pushy and will try to keep you talking. Don’t fall prey to this. If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, it is perfectly acceptable to respectfully state that you are not interested and hang-up.
The IRS, the City of Hayward or any other government agency will not request for you to pay taxes or fines over the phone. The Hayward Police Department or Alameda County Sheriff’s Department will not ask for payment of violations over the phone.
The City of Hayward will never ask you to pay for your curb to be painted. We will also never send a contractor for payment.
If you receive a call demanding payment from a government agency, hang up and contact the agency directly to verify the information. Never send a payment to unconfirmed sources.