Protecting against internet scams was the key topic during the Bay Isles Safety Committee’s meeting on Feb. 12.
The meeting, held at the Harbourside Ballroom of the Longboat Key Club, was organized by the Bay Isles Safety Committee Chair Mark Hullinger. The Longboat Key Club provided the venue and refreshments at no cost.
Longboat Key Police Department Deputy Chief Frank Rubino presented and began with an introduction to the department, outlining their personnel, patrol vehicles and the accreditation process the department recently completed.
He then talked to residents about what he called “elderly fraud,” scams over the phone or online that target older populations.
These include things like investment scams, social media scams, suspicious requests for payment and people pretending to be someone else in order to get information like a social security number.
The main thing, Rubino said, is to be alert to these kinds of activity and, if someone falls for it, to report it as soon as possible.
“Please report it,” Rubino said. “Don’t be embarrassed.”
There were a few tips that Rubino gave in order to prevent falling for these types of scams:
- Don’t share account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers or social security numbers.
- Never pay upfront for a “promised prize.”
- If something seems too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
- Watch out for deals that are “good for today only,” especially over the phone.
- Put your number on the national “do not call” registry at DoNotCall.gov.
After his presentation, Rubino opened the floor to the residents and answered questions about the scams.
He also addressed a question about the department’s patrolling within Bay Isles. Although it is a gated community, Rubino said the department does patrol frequently around the neighborhood and has the right to respond to events like accidents and hazardous driving.