Borough of Hummelstown

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Stranger Danger for Seniors

If a person calls and wants to sell you a product or wants you to donate to a charity, how do you know that person is legitimate? That person is a stranger. He or she has no credentials to show you, no way to convince you that they are truly representing ABC charity or that you will get the product they are selling.

The police department has received calls from residents who say they have gotten telemarketing calls from a law enforcement agency. The Hummelstown Borough Police Department wants the community to know that it does not solicit funds in any way. If you receive a call like this or any that are questionable, contact the Attorney General's Office Consumer Information and Complaints Dept. at 1-800-441-2555 or https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/Consumers/Protecting_Pennsylvania_Consumers/

Soliciting through the mail is just as bad. Mailboxes are becoming jammed full of “junk” mail, scams, phony contests, etc. Be aware that the more companies you respond to, the more mail you will get…and they all want your money. Foreign lottery offers are among the biggest frauds today. Millions of foreign lottery mailings are getting into the country and reaping approximately $120 million a year, according the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. (Incidentally, participating in a foreign lottery is a violation of U.S. law. If you should receive lottery material from a foreign country, give it to the local Postmaster.)

To protect yourself and your finances, watch out for these “ red flags:

 •  The caller says you must make your decision immediately.

•  The caller says the offer has been made only to a limited number of people.

•  The caller refuses to send written information.

•  The caller or correspondence asks for bank account, credit card or social security information.

•  The caller or correspondence asks you to wire money.

•  The caller says someone will come by to personally pick up a check.

 

To protect yourself:

•  Hang up on telemarketers! Don't be afraid to be rude.

•  Ask the caller to place you on the company's do-not-call list.

•  NEVER give out bank, credit card, or social security information.

•  Never let anyone come to your home or meet you at the bank to pick up a check.

•  If a deal sounds good, ask the company for more information in writing. A reputable company will gladly oblige, as well as give you as much time as you want to think about it.

•  Before agreeing to send money for something you're not sure of, ask a friend or relative for advice…or call the police department at 558-6900.

 

Whether on the phone or in the mail box, the same advice applies. Do not send money to anyone you're not 100% sure of or give out any personal information. As the old saying goes “ if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” Unfortunately, there are too many strangers today that will try to convince you otherwise.

Last updated Friday, March 31, 2017 9:42:10 AM