HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith continues to warn the community of circulating telephone scams that could drain victims’ bank accounts. Scammers often target potential victims’ social media accounts prior to attempt to deceive, Smith cautioned, collecting information that could lead citizens to believe the call is, in fact, legitimate.
“One of the common scams that I’ve seen is called a ‘grandkids’ scam,’ Smith explained. “The person calls an area where there’s lots of retired people, Towns County, and one of the scripts they use goes something like, ‘Hey Grandma, I don’t have a lot of time to talk, but I just got arrested for a DUI. An attorney says he can get me out of jail, but I need you to wire him some money’…These people call from spoofed phone numbers. I’ve talked about that before. They can put in whatever phone number they want to show up on your caller ID…
“Another common scam is a tech support scam. I’ve had several calls in Hiawassee for that, where someone calls claiming they’re from Microsoft or Apple, and they say that they discovered a virus on the computer and need to remove it for them for a small fee, of course. Once they get access to the computer to remove the virus, they’ve got everything. They’ve got full access to the computer, and then they install a virus so that it covers their tracks.”
Chief Smith advised against falling prey to lottery scams, a ploy where a con artist claims the lottery “winner” simply needs to pay applicable taxes or import fees prior to receiving a large sum of money.
Lastly, the chief warned of scams involving law enforcement impersonation, when a caller claims to have an arrest warrant for missed jury duty or an unpaid traffic ticket. “If the police department or sheriff’s office has a warrant for you, they aren’t going to call you. They’re just going to show up and serve the warrant,” Smith said.
Feature Image: Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith – Spring, 2019
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It is also one of the most giving times as well. People open their hearts and their wallets to help worthy causes and most are legit. When making a decision on which charity to donate to, most people consider the “efficiency” of the organization. What percentage of the monies received by the charity goes to funding its mission verses other costs such as fundraising activities, salaries, and other overhead. When giving to a non-profit you can always check its financials, which are required by law to be available, see below:
Tax-exempt organizations must make annual returns and exemption applications filed with the IRS available for public inspection and copying upon request. In addition, the IRS makes these documents available. The questions below relate to the public disclosure and availability of documents filed by tax-exempt organizations with the IRS.
There are several ways you can check out the charity but the most direct way is to ask for a copy of its financials so you can determine if your money is actually being used in the way you believe when you give. There are sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar which are very helpful in showing you what percentage of your giving goes to support the mission, as opposed to administrative expenses. Some nonprofits have a large overhead, but according to the charity ratings site, if they are spending more than 33.3% of their total budget on overhead, the organization is not meeting its mission. However if your “cause” or “local charity” is not listed we suggest you request the disclosure from your choice of giving and make sure your money is helping the cause you desire.
FYN will be taking a look at some of our local charities and letting you know what we find. Giving is great but it is always a good idea to make sure of how the money is actually being used.