Riverhead seniors heard advice on protecting themselves against identity theft Wednesday from Suffolk County Financial Crimes Unit Detective Tom Gabriele.
Gabriele provided residents with information on how to recognize scenarios of fraud and scams that can lead to identity theft, and how to monitor and protect their credit in the case of a breach.
Cases of identity theft reported by the Riverhead Town Police Department rose sharply over the past three years. There were 174 cases in 2021, up from 73 in 2020 and 58 cases in 2019. Reported incidents of fraud were also on the rise, from 29 in 2019 to 59 in 2020 to 68 in 2021.
The event was organized by the Greater Jamesport Civic Association at the Riverhead Senior Center on Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue.
Gabriele gave the audience a FTC fact sheet that lists “10 things you can do to avoid fraud.”
“If you follow what’s in this… you will never be a victim of a scam. That’s my guarantee,” he said.
The first item on the fact sheet is “spot imposters.” Scammers often pretend to be people they are not, or somebody the victim trusts, like a family member, a charity, a government official or a police officer, according to the fact sheet. Gabriele said never send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request, like a call saying you’ve won a free trip to the Bahamas, but need to send money for processing fees.
“Nobody’s giving you anything for nothing,…