Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Recent Scams Recapped

Recent Scams Recapped

Overpayment Scam With Western Slope Flare 

A scam on Western Colorado's Swap Meet website offers a typical overpayment deception. The instructions or offer, advise an unsuspecting victim to contact a person who will hire you to have a popular business/product decal(s) installed on your vehicle. Payment for this recent deception is, $300.00 a week. Sounds almost too easy to make that kind of cash, right? That's a major clue it's likely some sort of scam.

Ultimately, they send you a check for $2,250.00, or another amount significantly larger than the payment you should receive. The instruction are to take out the $300.00, payment and give a representative placing the decals on your vehicle the balance of the overpayment.

This scam works when the victim cashes the overpayment check against their personal bank account and hands over the overpayment amount before the bank can come back and tell you the check was forged or written on a closed account. The cash is typically gone along with any possible suspect(s) long before the victim has time to report the scam to law enforcement.

Grandparent's Scam

Deputies have received recent calls about this scam we have seen in Western Colorado a number of times over the years, always with a new twist. The latest version went something like...

Scammer: "Hello ma'am, this is Officer Joe with the Canadian Police. Your grandson was arrested for drunk driving and he thought you might be able help him. Is that correct?"

Victim: "Yes, of course! Is Mike, okay? Did he hurt anyone?"

Scammer: "Ma'am he is fine. Let me transfer you to the warrant division. Hold the line for just a moment."

Victim: "Okay."

A minute goes by...

New Scammer: "Ma'am, this is Sgt. Keating with the Canadian Police, warrant division. Your grandson Mike is in our custody and I understand you are willing and able to assist him pay a fine and get released?"

Victim: "Yes, of course."

New Scammer: "Great. You will need to wire three thousand dollars to..."

Anytime someone cold calls you (unsolicited on your behalf), explains a scary or legal scenario where a money exchange needs to happen to clear up the situation, that's most likely a scam. Sadly, this scenario plays out on the heartstrings of the relationship and bond between grandparent and grandchildren. Always verify the agency, the location of your grandchild needing "assistance" and contact other family members before blindly sending money anywhere.

Keep in mind, the variations on this scam include the grandchild calling directly, the arrest could be in Mexico or across the United States, and the amount being requested could vary.

You Have A Warrant, Pay Today or Go To Jail (or, You Missed Jury Duty And Now Have A Warrant)

While the last few days have been much quieter than last week with regard to people getting scam calls about a Sheriff's Office (or Sheriff's Department, which is incorrect) deputy, investigator or detective calling to notify them of an active warrant or that they missed jury duty. To rectify the situation, the victim of course, must send a payment or get a Green Dot card and provide the card numbers via the phone to the scammer calling.

This is a scam. Law enforcement across the country do not call people about warrants and never demand money or payment in lieu of clearing up an active warrant. Don't be afraid to hang up the phone.

Basic Tips

  1. Don't answer your door, phone or email, from anyone you don't know or didn't seek out yourself.
  2. Talk to your neighbors, family and friends about these and other scams. It's difficult for people to be cautious about scams if they haven't been made aware of them. Help each other.
  3. Don't send money via wire, Green Dot or other means, unless you absolutely know who is getting it on the other end.
  4. If you are feeling pressured to buy or make a decision, or feel like you are being held hostage through a threat to help or pay, that is likely a scam.
  5. Take notes and then take time. Slow things down and feel free to vet the information through a second party, through your local law enforcement agency or a trusted friend. If you have access to the Internet, Google it. 
    1. Google the phone number.
    2. Google key phrases they used when talking to you.
    3. Google their names or business name used.
  6. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!