NewsHillsborough County


Consumer experts warn of top scams in the community

Posted at 6:29 AM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 07:47:46-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Consumer experts want to warn people in the Tampa Bay area that scammers are working to get access to your belongings in many different ways.

“If they can get something valuable they’ll try to, and it’s not always property, sometimes it’s personal information,” said Eric Olsen, Manager of Consumer Protection Services for Hillsborough County.

Right now, experts tell us there’s a renewed effort from scammers to try to get in touch with people through text messages and phone calls.

If you get a message, officials say the best thing to do is just delete it. Clicking a link might download malware, infect your phone, or take you to a website that’s a scam.

“Receiving the messages, if you don’t solicit them, it’s always good to just avoid them,” said Olsen.

Experts say right now scammers are also contacting people trying to verify a social security number, a bank account number, or even just your name and date of birth.

“They have some information, they want to get more information. They use that, they sell that for identity theft,” said Olsen.

Another scam you may also see right now is someone claiming there’s been an issue with shipping.

Officials say most recently, scammers are trying to get in touch with people by leaving notes in front of their houses about their mail. The scammers will claim some items in the mail got lost or that their packages accidentally got delivered to the wrong house.

“Some of these attempts are people trying to get into your house to look to see what you have. They’re trying to get and solicit information from you that they could use for identity theft later,” said Olsen.

There have also been scams with online shopping. Olsen says they've seen issues with retailers.

“What’s going on, what we’re seeing is evidence that retailers failed to comply more in 2020 than they did in years prior. There were hundreds of thousands of complaints filed and many losses to consumers,” he said.

Experts stress people should look at everything with a critical eye.

“Being aware that there are scammers out in the community trying to get access to either your property or your information and how they do it is the big thing to be aware of,” said Olsen.