Scams are prevalent in area; here are tips on what to do
November 28, 2014
Local and regional law enforcement are warning residents of multiple scams going around in the area.
Scammers are nearly impossible to track, trace or find, let alone prosecute.
A woman called the Nevada Appeal last week about a Facebook scam involving Publishers Clearing House. The scammer wanted the target to pay $5,000 cash up front in order to win $10,000 a week.
Also last week, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department recently received a report from a resident who received phone calls from people he didn't know attempting to obtain money.
The scammers called the victim. He told the victim he was stuck in customs and needed help getting out. The suspect convinced the elderly victim to send him a large amount of money. The scammers also called back and tried to convince the victim to give additional money with an additional scam, saying he won the lottery.
The scammers are calling from a phone number with an 876 area code. That area code comes back to Jamaica, which has been the source for a variety of international scams.
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Law enforcement officials want to remind residents never to send or transfer money to people calling you unsolicited. Even if the caller reports to be from a legitimate business, you can always verify this by calling the business' listed customer service number.
Additionally, do not give out any personal information over the phone to anyone calling you unsolicited. That includes your name, birth date, social security number, debit/credit card numbers, or any banking information. Millions of dollars are lost each year nationwide through scams such as these.
Other tips to avoiding scams:
Look out for solicitations disguised as bills or invoices. Sometimes fake invoices are marked with the notice "This is not a bill," but not always.
Keep a list of, and know, your vendors, and be wary of any bill or invoice from an unknown vendor.
Have effective internal controls in place for the payment of bills or invoices, and verify all bills or invoices with the person who authorized the purchase.
Check with the BBB Business Review on any business that has contacted you before signing anything or giving any payment or payment information.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to know you and they are asking for money, confirm their story and need with a family member or friend.
Ask the person hard-to-know details of your relative's life, such as the last time you saw the person or an important anniversary date.
Don't volunteer information to the person until you're sure of whom you're speaking with.
Guard you personal information online.
Use up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software on your computer and be wary when opening emails, attachments or links from addresses you don't recognize.
Don't allow the caller to bully you unless you're sure of the identity.
Types of scams:
Overpayment Scams: Someone responds to your posting or ad, and offers to use a check to pay for the item you're selling. The so-called buyer comes up with a reason to write the check for more than the purchase price, and asks you to wire back the difference. The checks are counterfeit, and you are liable for the amount you wired.
Mystery Shopper Scams: You are hired to be a mystery shopper and asked to evaluate the customer service of a money transfer company. You're given a check to deposit in your personal bank account. Then, you're told to withdraw the amount in cash and wire the money using a money transfer service. The check you deposited bounces.
Counterfeit Check Scams: Someone sends you a check with instructions to deposit it and wire some or all the money back. By law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check turns out to be fraudulent, you will owe the bank any money you withdraw.
Lotteries and Sweepstakes: You just won a foreign lottery! The letter says so, and a cashier's check is included. All you have to do is deposit the check and wire money to pay for taxes and fees. Although it looks legitimate, the bank eventually will determine that it's a fake. The lottery angle is a trick to get you to wire money to someone you don't know. If you deposit the check and wire the money, the check will bounce and you'll be responsible for the money you sent.
For more information and for ways to protect against fraud, go to http://www.protectseniorsfromfraud.com.