We have had a number of scams reported again recently.

We have had a number of scams reported again recently. They seem to go in cycles. It is like all the local phone numbers get found by some scam criminals. Whatever the reason why they seem to come in large numbers, the information to combat them stays the same.

No legitimate business or charity requires you to pay them with Bitcoin, iPhone cards, Money Grams or any other non-traditional money. This does not mean you should be giving out your credit card information either. Keep your credit card numbers, social security numbers and any personal information to yourself.

Even if the caller has some of your personal information, and they are just “updating” the information; don’t give out any new information. Everyone has some personal information cycling around the internet — just don’t add to that database.

Some callers talk fast and ask you to make a decision right away due to “limited time offers”, “only so many available”, “the market rate won’t be this low for long” or the many other reasons. Any legitimate company will give information and allow you time to do research and speak with others about financial decisions. Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you feel like you have been a victim of a scam you can report it to us, but we would also recommend reporting it to the Federal Trade Commission. You can do this by calling 1-887-FTC-HELP or going to ftc.gov/complaint.

I am sure I have covered some of these scams in the past, but I am going to share some of the scams we have been contacted about recently:

•Scammers will call claiming to be the FBI, Social Security, or police organization. The caller will say that you have a warrant for your arrest for some unknown violation and require you to pay them right away to avoid being picked up. Police agencies do not work this way.

•Contractor scams are always going on, calling about work that is going to be done on your house when you didn’t call them. If a contractor calls you out of the blue about some issue they think needs to be fixed, it is some kind of scam. Sleepy Eye has many good quality contractors and home service providers. There is no need to speak with some stranger that calls you about home repairs.

•Anyone calling to clean up your credit is not to be trusted. There is no quick fix for credit problems. If you need help with credit, speak with your bank or one of the financial groups in town. One of the great things about Sleepy Eye is that we all know of each other. Our local services are great, and they live inside of our community, so you know they can be trusted. Can you imagine how long someone would last in Sleepy Eye, providing a service and then scamming people?

•We have seen where someone sends an email asking for money or they will release the contents of your computer. This is more blackmail, but falls under scam, because they don’t have the information they are just looking for money. Again if you are worried about that, contact a local IT constant for help.

•Calls can come in with local numbers. Scammers emulate numbers to make it seem like they are local businesses.

•If a caller says you won some lottery, but need to pay some fee first, it is a scam.

•This last one I have only heard of once and is likely a new scam: Someone had their own phone number call them and a recorded message stated that their voicemail contract ran out and they needed to call another number to buy an updated plan. Verizon wireless verified that this is a scam and your voicemail is part of your service plan with any cell phone provider.