Tips to avoid scams


Saving money these days is often far easier said than done. So when we do manage to set aside a few pennies it’s extremely important to protect ourselves against the predators who’d like nothing better than to get their sticky fingers on the contents of our piggy banks. Here are a few tips from the National Sheriff’s Association to help us safeguard against scammers and thieves.

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Identity theft is such a big problem during tax season because it’s when people gather all of their sensitive information into one place, making it easiest for criminals to steal information and tax refunds.

Some ways identity theft criminals can find your personal information are:

  • From their friends or acquaintances
  • By posing through a phone call or an email as someone who needs your information
  • By looking through your trash for personal information
  • By accessing information you provide to an unsecured Internet site or via a public Wi-Fi service

To avoid giving your personal information to identity theft criminals, follow the Indiana Department of Revenue’s four identity protection tips:

  1. Don’t share your Social Security number (SSN) unless you have to. And never give it to a person when you did not make the initial contact.
  2. Don’t leave your W-2s lying around. This gives visitors going in and out of your home access to them. Instead, keep your tax documents in a safe, locked box.
  3. After you electronically file your tax return, save the file to a CD, USB drive, or external drive and then delete the return from your computer. Store the device in a safe, locked place. This ensures hackers can’t steal your information
  4. File your taxes electronically. It is significantly more secure than paper filing. Individual taxpayers may qualify to file their taxes online for free at

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Tips to Avoid Email Scams:

Don’t believe what you see. Scammers easily duplicate a real business’ logo and/or email address.

Place your mouse over hyper-linked text and the true destination will appear.

Do not click on links or open the files in emails from people you don’t know.

Beware of pop-ups. Some pop-ups are designed to look like they’ve originated from your computer. If you see one that warns of a problem that needs to be fixed with an extreme level of urgency, it may be a scam.

Watch for poor grammar and spelling. Scam emails often are riddled with typos.

Ignore calls for immediate action. Scam emails try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it.

 *Lee Lofland and The Writers’ Police Academy are proud supporters/members of the National Sheriff’s Association.



What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is any type of bullying that takes place on devices such as computers, cellphones, tablets, etc. Those devices are used to transmit mean text messages and/or emails, or similar messages via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Other examples of cyberbullying include transmitted rumors, extremely embarrassing videos and/or photos, and even fake profiles.

Cyberbullying can be a bit more difficult to escape than in-person bullying because it can occur 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Cyberbullies can post anonymously, and they can reach an audience of unlimited numbers.

Effects of Cyberbullying

Kids who are cyberbullied are more prone to:

– health problems

– poor or lower than average grades

– skip school

– use alcohol and/or drugs

–  experience in-person bullying

How You Can Help

– know what your kids are doing online

– know the sites your kids visit

– know the passwords used by your kids

– “friend” or “follow” your kids (but don’t intrude or embarrass them by posting to the sites)

– encourage your children to come to you if a problem develops. Reinforce the fact that you will not take away their computer or punish them in other ways simply because they’ve become a victim of a cyberbully.

– teach children about what they should and should not post online.

– teach kids how to post privately, or only to certain people, such as family and close friends.

– be sure your kids know that you’ll be monitoring their online activity. It is your duty as a responsible parent to do so.

*Monitoring the online activity of your kids is extremely important, not only to prevent your child from becoming a victim to a cyberbully, but to prevent your child from becoming the bully. Remember, for every victim, unfortunately, there is a bully.

*WikiCommons photo