HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Grandparent, gift card, and even romance scams are popping up across northeastern Pennsylvania.
With these scams, in a matter of minutes, you can lose thousands of dollars.
Officials say it’s important to stay up to date on these new tricks to keep you, or someone you know, from getting ripped off.
Most of us receive scam phone calls a few times a month but, now officials say phone calls aren’t the only kind of scam you should be on the lookout for.
Protecting yourself from scams.
On Friday, local lawmakers and law enforcement officials held a free scam seminar in Hazleton.
“With the increasing use of technology, bad guys are coming up with more and more diabolical ways to steal money from our constituents,” said Senator David Argall
These seminars help keep people up to date on the latest scams across the nation and here in our area.
People can fall victim to scams through texts emails or even by meeting someone online through what’s called a “romance scam”.
“They formed a relationship over several months and then lured money that way through a bank account and one day it was all gone,” added Rep. Dane Watro.
Police say the “grandparent”, or “loved one” scam also continues to be a problem. Scam artists will call someone pretending to be a loved one in need of money.
“We have the loved one scam where these scammers try to put pressure on senior citizens in particular when they say that magic word grandchild,” says Trooper Anthony Petroski.
But senior citizens aren’t the only group at risk of being scammed.
“My daughter, she went on a website that provides jobs and she applied,” continued Richard Wienches from Hazleton.
He says after his daughter put her information into the site two weeks later she received a random fraudulent check in the mail for twenty-five hundred dollars and began to receive text messages asking her to purchase gift cards.
“I caught it in time and found out if she started using her credit card or debit card and bought the gift cards she would have been out over $2,000,” added Wienches.
While Richard kept his daughter from falling victim to a scam some people aren’t so lucky.
Officials say there are a few steps you can take if you’ve been scammed.
“They could close their credit card, they could monitor their credit,” says Trooper Anthony Petroski.
You can also reach out to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office for help.