Ironwood District Update for March 25, 2013
The Peoria Police Department has put together information on some of the most popular scams to separate you from your money. By disseminating information pertaining to these scams we hope to educate citizens and prevent additional victims.
Scenario: This scam first surfaced several years ago and there have been numerous variations since the first one. Basically how this scam works is that you receive a letter or an e-mail in which the author identifies themselves as some type diplomat or person of importance in an oppressed country. They are trying to get out of the country with their family and their lives. They have a large amount of cash assets, but to move it to a more friendly country, they need trustworthy outside assistance. They are trying to impress upon you how much faith they are placing in you. For your assistance you will receive a nominal fee (large sum of money), all they need is to have your bank name, account number, pin number etc. so that they can transfer their money into your account. All you need to do then is transfer money into their new account outside of their current homeland.
Outcome: As you can imagine, once you have provided them with your banking information, before you can have a second thought, they have already drained your account of all money and placed it in a foreign bank.
Defense: The best defense is a good offense. Never give your personal identifying information over the telephone or via e-mail. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Look closely at most of the letters or e-mails. You will see numerous spelling and grammatical errors which would be an indication that these are not being written by the professionals they portray themselves to be.
Relative in Trouble:
Scenario: This scam takes an unusually cruel twist. You receive a phone call, usually perpetrated upon those of grandparent age, saying that their grandchild is in trouble and needs their help. They will give you a story that they are in trouble with the police or courts and that they need money for bail or to pay a fine. These people can sound very convincing. However, they are good con artists. During the conversation they will be asking you questions or dropping hints that will solicit personal information that only a grandchild should know. This is how they convince you that they are actually who they are. They ask that the money be wired as soon as possible. Once the money is received, there will be no returns or exchanges.
Outcome: As you guessed, the caller is not really a family member. Once you wire them the money, usually to another country, the money is gone. Then the sender will contact the parents of the grandchild and find out that they are fine or at home.
Defense: First and foremost, DON’T volunteer information about loved ones. In fact, you try to turn the table on them and immediately start asking them questions about family relations. At this point you will probably hear the phone click because the hung up. If it does sound like a loved one, get the information you need, including a call back phone number. Call the relatives family and confirm their location or need for assistance. Most important, don’t get sucked into their game and let them play on your emotions.
Winning Lottery Ticket:
Scenario: This scam can have several variations. However, the two most popular are the actual winner or one similar to the Nigerian Letter scam. The first is you receive a phone call, letter or e-mail, advising you that you have won a large sum of money or valuable prize. All that you need to do to claim the prize is send them a money gram or cashier check for the processing fees, taxes or to show your good faith. They may even ask for your bank information so that they can transfer the money directly. The second variation is that the caller lives out of country, has won a lottery and wants to transfer the money to a safe place. For your assistance you will receive a very nice percentage.
Outcome: You can already guess. Once you provide them with your banking information, your account is history and your money taken. Remember, most often these scams will play upon your sense of fair play and what a good person you are so they are placing their trust in you.
Defense: Ask them for specific information about this lottery or game that you supposedly won. I bet that the phone hangs up real quick. Ask them for a call back phone number. Most of the time, if they provide a phone number, it will be for foreign country exchange. Don’t call them back.
Brand New Scam:
Scenario: Apparently the Arizona Alarm Association has initiated a new Standard Arizona Alarm Permit form in conjunction with the respective city form. The purpose of this form is to standardize alarm subscriber information. However, it appears that the con artist has heard about this as well and seized the opportunity to try and separate you from your hard earned money. You could possibly receive a phone call from someone saying that they are with the association or an alarm company and because of the new statewide form; they are updating your information. They will then ask you for some non-threatening information and eventually graduate into asking you for personal identifying information.
Outcome: As noted above, once they have your personal information, they now have your identity. Even worse, they may have your alarm information along with your address, code and habits, which make you vulnerable to being a burglary victim.
Defense: I have heard and spoken with the Peoria Police Department Alarm Coordinator. She does call citizens on a daily basis, however, I have never heard her ask for personal or alarm information except for the alarm provider. Don’t give up this information. If they want or need it, the agency alarm coordinator can send the form in the mail or direct individuals to the appropriate website to obtain it.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, it is best to avoid giving out any personal information to the caller. Ask the caller specific questions about their offer, without revealing any identifying information.
For additional information, please contact Bev Chanco at 623-773-7076 or Bev.firstname.lastname@example.org.