Jessica Napier-Eagle
Jessica Napier-Eagle
Jessica Napier-Eagle
Tips for protection against scams and identity theft

July 18, 2017

She wanted a chance to work "hands-on" with the community, Jessica Napier-Eagle told Putnam Rotarians today. And the opportunity came two months ago when she signed on with the West Virginia Office of the Attorney General.

In the Consumer Protection Division, she works with folks who wish to file a complaint. "I help them through the process when they have been wronged by a business entity or an individual seller."

Much of her work at the present time involves scams and identity theft, she said.

"The IRS scam is really hot right now. People are getting phone calls saying they owe [back taxes] and, 'you have to pay this or we are sending an officer to arrest you today.'

"If you owe money, the IRS is going to send you a letter first. They'll notify you in writing, and they'll never say pay in gift cards or iTunes cards."

Scammers seem to have turned to iTunes gift cards because of warnings by law enforcement to avoid money orders or prepaid credit cards.

"That's how they are requesting it, because you can give them the information over the phone and we can't track it."

The grandparent scam is very prevalent locally. "Someone will call and say, 'Hey, grandma, I need money for a bail,' or 'I'm injured. Can you send money so I can get this taken care of?'

"They're very crafty. They will say, 'Hey, grandpa. This is your favorite grandson.'

"'Oh, Johnny. What's happened?' And now, they have a name."

Then there's the notice that you've won a contest for a vacation with all expenses paid. "'But in order to secure your, we need a deposit of $500.'

"A fellow last week purchased a car on Craigslist for $2,000. All he had to do was to get the money in gift cards, call them with the information on the gift cards." The vehicle would then be sent -- the money included shipping costs. The car never came.

"I have a friend who is trying to sell her house," Napier-Eagle continued. "People on Craigslist are trying to rent her house out.

"Just be cautious: Not everything on the internet is true."

Napier-Eagle also gave pointers for use of social media. "It's really amazing how much the internet can capture," she said. "I have a Facebook page; I have a Twitter page; I have an Instagram page.

"If you dig a little, you can probably find a phone number. There's all kinds of information out there floating around. If somebody takes the time, they're going to be able to link it together and come up with a map. And this map will enable them to steal your identity.

"Watch what you publish on the internet. Make sure your passwords are strong. Don't publish when you are going on vacation, or when you plan to return.

"Check your credit report often. Make sure that everything on your credit report is stuff you have purchased, and not someone else out there with your identity who is going on a spending spree."

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