I guess Nigerian email money scams aren't working so well lately, because now there are a few door-to-door scams being attempted in the Binghamton area. In this blog, I'll tell you what they are and how to protect yourself.

The newest, which Binghamton Police have alerted the public to, is the "Just Energy" scam. Two men in their 20's, dressed in winter coats with the "Just Energy" logo on it and badges are knocking on doors and using high pressure tactics to get residents to sign papers.

The second is similar and has been going on for a while; men identifying themselves as NYSEG workers. Same tactics.

The last is mostly online, but can be by phone or in person as well. This one is a bit scarier. it involves individuals offering to do your IRS tax return and using a bogus tax credit, if they get as far as getting your information. Which, if successful, creates havoc between you and the IRS. Not to mention they steal your identity.

To protect you and your loved ones, here are tips to avoid being a victim:

1. Know who you are dealing with. No matter how they contact you, verify their identity by calling the company they say they represent. If it is a real employee, they will patiently wait or call you back. If by email, do not deal with them at all. No real company conducts serious business without personal contact. If it's NYSEG they claim to work for and they don't know your account number, it's a criminal.

2. For elderly and young family members, explain how these scams work and instruct your family member never to give out their information.

3. If it's too good to be true, it's not true!

4. Check your credit record after an encounter. they could have gotten personal information from your trash.

5. Call your local law enforcement agency to report a scam encounter. The more they are aware of it, the better they can be at stopping it.

6. Never, ever open your door to a stranger. Mom was right.

7. Each season brings different scams. In the Spring, it's home improvement thieves. When dealing with a "contractor" always make sure they are licensed and get the proper permits.

Protecting yourself now will help you avoid months and months of trying to fix your credit and finances later.