Each year, thousands of people fall victim to scams. In most cases, scammers target the most vulnerable in our community — those who are facing financial hardship. They promise easy money and count on the victim giving them the benefit of the doubt because of his or her financial need.
Scammers call thousands of people every day. They have a lot of practice at attempting to steal money from unsuspecting consumers. They can be very convincing and will say anything to separate you from your money or personal information. They count on most people not wanting to seem rude by questioning their credentials. They might even tell you to confirm their identity by going to a website they’ve created to prove it.
Never be afraid to tell them you want to verify their identity by calling the company directly, and, when you do call, use the phone number on your credit card. Do not use a number the caller gives you; it will be part of the scam.
Our Criminal Investigations Division receives complaints about scam phone calls and wire transfer schemes several times a week and has some simple advice: If it seems too good to be true, it is. Any time you’re in doubt or think you might be a scam victim, call the police department. We’re here to help.
Criminals use a number of convincing techniques to talk people out of their money or information. Though the scams and techniques change often, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
- If selling something online, and a potential buyer offers you more than your asking price and wants you to wire him/her the
difference, it’s a scam. Never accept more money than you’re asking for and then agree to wire the buyer the difference. This common scam comes in many forms. Claiming to live out of town and needing the victim to take care of some business for him/her, the scammer sends the victim a check. The victim cashes it and wires the difference to the scammer. When the bank discovers the check was fraudulent, the victim is on the hook for the money, and the scammer is long gone.
- When buying or renting a home, do not work with Realtors or property management companies that aren’t local. If the landlord
is unable to meet you in person to show you the home or claims the key has been lost or stolen, and you’ll have to make your own, it’s a scam. Scammers attempt to rent or sell vacant homes and will take money and have victims sign fake leases via fax or email. They claim they’re out of town or create some other reason why they can’t be there to show the home or sign paperwork. They prey on people who have credit problems and struggle to get approved for housing.
- If a caller claims you’ve won a prize or qualified for a lower credit card interest rate and asks for your personal information, it’s a
scam. In these cases, hang up and call the credit card company directly. No one from your actual credit card company will ask you for your card number, Social Security number, date of birth or other personal identifying information.
- If a caller claims you’ll be arrested if you don’t send him/her money, it’s a scam. The police or IRS never will call and threaten to arrest
you. This is a scare tactic. If in doubt, hang up and call the police.
- Anyone who asks you to buy prepaid gift cards, Green Dot cards or Google Play cards to pay him/her is attempting a scam. No
reputable company requires payment with gift cards.
- If someone claims a family member has been arrested overseas and wants you to wire him/her money for bail, it’s a scam. Never
wire money or purchase gift cards or Green Dot cards to pay an unknown person overseas. Legitimate detention centers don’t operate this way.
– Wayne Dennard has served as chief since 2012 and has lived in this community for more than 40 years.