Workshop helps public stay ahead of scamming trends

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Whether it’s someone calling you, or a message landing in your email inbox, thieves have used whatever means available to try and take advantage.

A free public workshop was held in New Bern to inform the public of scams happening in their area, and how people can best protect them against the threat.

Sargent Michael Sawyer with the Craven County Sheriff’s Department said, “If someone makes you an offer that’s too good to be true, chances are it’s a scam”

Many have heard the age old advice before, but Sawyer said it’s not quite that simple anymore.

The Craven County Sheriff’s office said scams have become more-and-more sophisticated.

Sawyer said, “We’ve received calls like a computer scams, where you get a message on your computer then you get a virus and you have to call this number. It’s a scam. They can’t fix your computer they’re just taking your money.”

Wednesday night’s workshop aimed to bring members of the community together to have an honest discussion about scamming.

Shirley Hertzog attended the workshop and said, “I was amazed. I had been involved with this for quite a while, but there was so much information that came out tonight that I hadn’t even thought of.”

Hertzog said she learned to research claims before you commit.

“If they give you references call the references, call the Better Business Bureau, call your local police establishment in your area,” said Hertzog.

Hertzog said the tone of the call can give it away too.

“If they’re asking you for something in a hurry and they want it now, that’s a big bells and whistles going off right then-and-there because if it’s legitimate, they’ll get it when they get it,” said Hertzog.

Claire Abshire with the Better Business Bureau of ENC agreed.

“It’s really important for consumers to investigate before they invest,” Abshire said. “If they’re thinking about hiring a business or buying a certain product, really stop to do the research and make sure you’re not getting involved with a scam.”

She said scammers often perceive seniors as an easy target.

“Time has really changed,” Abshire said. “Years ago you used to be able to do business by patting someone on the back or shacking their hand. Seniors grew up in a time when business was done that way and unfortunately it’s not. You have to really do your research.”

Sargent Sawyer said many might be signed up on the No Call List, but stop criminals have found ways around it.

Sawyer said if you keep receiving unwanted calls you should inform your local law enforcement or contact the Better Business Bureau.

You can research common scams by visiting the Better Business Bureau website.

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