Residents should be mindful of scams

Published 10:16am Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shelby County has recently seen a rash of scams across the county that residents should keep in mind while going about their daily lives.

First, about a month ago, we heard of a phone scam in Montevallo in which perpetrators were calling residents, claiming to be Montevallo police officers and threatening to arrest individuals for unpaid loans.

In that scam, callers tell individuals they have unpaid loans and demands payment, threatening to sue those who refuse to comply. Those who agree to pay are told to go to a local Walmart and call back using an out-of-state number.

The Montevallo Police Department has warned all city residents — and all county residents — not to share any personal information with any callers using this gambit. No law enforcement agency should ever call citizens demanding money.

Last week, the Alabaster Police Department issued a warning about a credit card scam. Scammers claiming to represent a credit card company call Alabaster residents, sometimes providing the name of the bank issuing the card and the card account number.

The scammer will claim that the company is investigating unusual purchase patterns on the account, and will ask for the three-digit security number on the back of the card. That number will allow scammers to make purchases on the credit card account.

If residents ever receive a call seeking personal information, they should contact their credit card company or bank directly to verify that issue.

Finally, nine counterfeit bills turned up in Columbiana during the month of January. Those bills were discovered in restaurants and stores across the city. Counterfeit bills have also been turning up in Calera.

Columbiana police asked that county residents closely examine their money, especially bills ranging from $20-$100. Residents should hold the bills up to a light and look for the watermark, which looks like a smoky duplicate of the portrait, and the security strip, which is a thin line running from the bill’s top to bottom with the bill’s denomination printed on it.

Visit Secretservice.gov to review counterfeit bills, and contact your local police department if you receive a suspicious phone call or counterfeit bill.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.

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