CRIME ALERT: Citizens of New Castle County are receiving numerous scam phone calls.

(New Castle, Del-19720) Every year growing numbers of people fall victim to fraudulent scams.  This is a worldwide problem that continues to grow and can affect anyone.  The New Castle County Police are urging its citizens to report any possible scams you encounter. The New Castle County Police also would like to inform the public on how to recognize a scam and what to do if you feel that you are being scammed.

A scam can be defined as a dishonest attempt to entice you into giving away something of value, like money.  A ‘scammer’ may personally approach you, with an offer too good to be true. Scammers may also utilize email, telephone, text messages or post an offer that is fraudulent. Scammers often use persuasive techniques that can be hard to resist even to normally prudent people.

While scams occur all year long across the country, there is a significant increase during the Holidays and during the spring income tax season.

Scams are as diverse as the criminals who create them.  Storylines vary from IRS Tax Scam to the most recent scam.  In this scam, a caller tells you, a family member who they identify by name is being held against their will.  The family are then told that they need to send gift cards or wire money for family member ’s safe release.

The best defense comes from the citizen being suspicious of all calls that you do not recognize.  Remember- you can always confirm with other family members or friends the whereabouts of other relatives.

Here are some other tips to help:

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

If there is an insistence on urgency- it is most likely a scam.

If emails supposedly coming from legitimate-sounding government agencies or financial institutions are actually sent from free email accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail or others then this too is a scam.

Beware of emails or calls from Nigerian or foreign government officials requesting assistance in the transfer of excess funds from a foreign country into your bank account.

Here are some websites that can help you with any questions:

https://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/fraud/

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud

https://www.ic3.gov/preventiontips.aspx

http://www.fraud.org/learn/internet-fraud

If you think you have been the victim of a scam or fraud please do not be embarrassed or ashamed.  These scammers can be very convincing and you are not alone.  Contact the New Castle County Police non-emergency line (302)-573-2800 to report a scam or (302) 395-8171 if you have any questions.