Summer Scams

Summer is often one of the busiest times of the year for scam artists, and residents are being warned about some of the most popular con games.

First, there are the scams by phone.

"If you get a phone call with an area code of '876' that is for the country of Jamaica, and that's where Mississippians are getting a lot of calls," says John O'Hara. He is CEO for the Better Business Bureau which serves Mississippi. Aside from phone calls, O'Hara says scams that are done through the postal service and over the internet are also common.

"You do have folks who fill out a lot of stuff on the internet, which we tell people don't because it just opens the door for people who want to e-mail you."

O'Hara says people are often contacted about winning prizes for contests that they never entered.

"In order to win a prize, you first must enter something. Also, we tell people that anytime you win a prize you never should have to pay anything."

O'Hara is advising residents to report solicitations that request the recipient to go to a certain site, withdraw money or make a purchase.

"What happens is that people can tell where you are right from your address. With the way that the internet is they can tell that there is a Walgreens 1.1 miles away from your house. So, people think that they are really in the area when they call them and they say, 'Yeah, we know that there's a Walgreens, it's just down the street from where you live,' and the person receiving the call thinks that they are obviously in the area. So, they're going to show up."

O'Hara says never give your social security number over the phone. As for your bank account and routing numbers, he advises the use of extreme caution.

"If you've made a call to the bank they will ask you to verify your last four digits of your social security number and that's safe because you initiated that call and you know who you're calling."

To report a scam or find out if a business is legitimate, call the Better Business Bureau at 1-800-987-8280.