The scammer called a person in Kent County, but police are concerned this could be a statewide problem

The Delaware State Police recently have received a complaint from a citizen in Kent County concerning a phone call from an individual stating they are with Verizon. The person claiming to be from Verizon said the network was switching from 4G to 5G and the service would experience issues in the next few days.

Division spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said the caller claimed, in order to avoid issues with service, an account reset is needed. The victim received a password reset email and provided the confirmation code to the caller to reset the account. The caller then instructed the victim to turn off the cell phone to complete the account reset and network update. The victim turned the cell phone on and moments later received another email from Verizon confirming his order for an Apple iPad tablet. The order was made in the victim’s name and was set to be shipped.

Verizon was notified of the incident, Bratz said.

Taking steps to prevent identity theft can greatly reduce the chances of becoming a victim. Bratz provided some suggestions for protecting oneself online and offline.

- Shred all documents containing Personally Identifying Information such as Social Security number, credit card or account numbers and even your middle name. This can include bank or credit card statements, pre-approval letters, or utility bills. If you aren’t sure, shred it before discarding it. Use locked filing cabinet or a document safe for important documents that you want to keep.

- Protect all of your online passwords. Don’t store them on paper or in unsecured files.

Be cautious when showing personally identifying information on social media sites.

Be wary of callers that are providing you information on your account and then ask you to provide basic account information.

- Validate promotional offers with the company before logging into your online account to accept them. For example, if you get an email promising a $30 bill credit of your wireless bill, do some research online to see if it’s a scam. When in doubt, contact the company directly to validate the offer.

- Secure your internet connection. Using public Wifi connections may place you at risk for a fraudster to obtain the information stored on your computer or smartphone.

- Regularly monitor your credit report for unusual or unauthorized activity. Many sites offer a free credit report for a promise to subscribe to additional services. Under the Fair Credit Act, you are entitled to a free credit report from the reporting agencies.

Information provided through the Verizon website located at: https://www.verizonwireless.com/fraud/
For more information on identity theft, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity

Anyone with information in reference to this incident is asked to please contact Troop 4, Detective Powell at 302-856-5850. Information also may be provided by calling Delaware crime stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com