During these trying times, the old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is” should be taken very seriously. Scammers are becoming increasingly more proficient in finding ways to take your money and several scams have made their way to Williamsburg County.
One scam starts with a phone call or letter in the mail. The letter claims the citizen is entitled to unemployment benefits and proceeds to instruct the victim to call the number listed. The benefits offered can be as high as $10,000 and are coming from out-of-state. The victim makes the call and provides the scammer with their bank account number and routing number so that they can send a portion of their earnings to the “agency” so that they can receive the rest. By the time the bank is notified, the transaction has taken place and nothing can be done.
Another scam takes place online and has targeted young people. A local student was convinced to provide his bank account information so that a deposit could be made in his name. The victim is promised he can make money, for example, by displaying stickers on his vehicle but his funds must be transferred in good faith. Many young people use online apps to transfer money from their bank account and once the money is gone, it is nearly impossible to track down the company.
For someone who is having financial difficulty, a single transaction could be devastating. The bank can only point the victim to law enforcement where they can file a report. “We can get their information but there’s not a lot we can do at that point,” said Bank of Greeleyville President Scott Williamson.
The list of scams goes on and on and the two examples affecting local citizens are most likely the tip of the iceberg. The best advice is if someone calls you and asks for your personal information, hang up and contact your financial institution immediately. “There’s no age discrimination now. They catch you off guard. You think you have to fix the problem right now,” said Williamson. “Don’t think because you’re a senior citizen or an 18-year-old in high school that it can’t happen to you.”