This past week marked the return of one of the biggest economy boosting cluster of shopping days in the U.S., and with it emerges more ways for people to swindle shoppers out of their money. As Thanksgiving transitioned seamlessly into Gray Thursday, and then Black Friday, and eventually Cyber Monday, many shoppers faced the threat of con artists targeting them on the internet.

According to a weekend AP story, scammers have begun tricking people on social networking sites and through emails and texts. These cons include fake contests, dangerous url links and email messages aimed at getting online consumers’ personal information.

According to the article, there are several ways to protect yourself online, including the installation of a firewall and antivirus software, as well as the purchase of credit card protections. However, even though scam trends are emerging online, there is still a large population of people being targeted trough traditional methods such as snail mail and the telephone.

Last month, The Graham Leader reported on a mail scam being sent to several locations in the area, including the Young County Appraisal Office. Versions of the mail scam were also brought in by concerned citizens to the office of the Young County Clerk, Debra Taylor. Scammers are once again making the rounds in Young County, this time in the form of phone solicitations.

On Veteran’s Day, Graham resident and retired teacher Diane Wilson received a phone call from a man she described as having a foreign accent. The man told Wilson that he needed certain information from her bank account, and if she didn’t give it to him, she would no longer receive her Medicare checks in the mail.

She initially refused to give him any information and eventually hung up, but then someone else called her two days later telling her the same thing. If she didn’t give him her personal banking information, her Medicare checks would stop coming.

“The guy that called me on Monday, he called it out to me (her bank’s routing number),” Wilson said. “He said ‘The routing number for that bank is...’ and I said ‘Yes, that’s correct.’ And then he told me he needed my checking account number to ensure that my Medicare payments would continue.”

After Wilson refused, the man became persistent to the point of raising his voice. This happened to her two more times that week. Gloria Sims is an employee at First State Bank where Wilson is a customer, and says that there are key signs to determine if someone is running a scam.

“You should never have to give account information out to anyone over the phone,” Sims said. “You can also get their phone number and tell them you’ll call them back. If they persist, you can tell them you’ll call the local authorities.”

Read the entire story in Wednesday's edition of The Graham Leader.