SCAMS, FRAUDS & CONS… HAVE YOU BEEN A VICTIM ?

Sep 26, 2016

SCAMS, FRAUDS & CONS… HAVE YOU BEEN A VICTIM ?

 

In this article we will address a subject that the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office receives complaints about almost on a daily basis. These are the various scams, cons and fraud type telephone calls, e-mails or mail outs where citizens have “won” prizes or are threatened with arrest because they have not complied with certain governmental requirements. These con-artist make it their business to be enthusiastic, intelligent, aggressive, persuasive and/or threatening depending upon the particular form of scam they are trying to run. Usually, they are friendly, articulate and very helpful until they get what they want…..YOUR MONEY ! The sad fact of the matter is that thousands of people are taken for billions of dollars by con artist each year across our nation and many even within our own county…. unless you are smart enough to spot their approach. So…. are you smart enough ?

 

The elderly are particularly vulnerable, being lured by the promise of miracle cures, financial security, the offering of luxury prizes or perhaps a threat of imprisonment if some “delinquent” taxes are not paid. It seems one of the most prolific scams going right now is the caller who represents himself as an agent calling regarding a person’s unpaid Internal Revenue Taxes and the fact that if payment is not made immediately to them, you will be arrested by the IRS and put in jail. Names and call back numbers are usually given but trying to retrace these telephone numbers are impossible because they change daily or hourly and most often there is a language barrier between the caller and the victim even though the caller will give the victim a common American sounding name. Many of these callers are calling from another country although they give local area phone numbers as call back numbers.

Then there is the ever popular “Publisher’s Clearing House” scam or some variation thereof where you only have to send them a “delivery fee” or something similar to receive thousands of dollars in return. Again, call back phone numbers and names are changed daily and once you send this “delivery fee” you never hear from them again.

Even one of our local community banks, First Liberty National Bank, recently found it necessary to send out information to their customers regarding fraudulent phone calls, e-mails and text messages going out stating that a customer’s debit card has been blocked. The con-artist will ask for your FLNB account numbers, social security numbers, etc. but the FLNB bank official requested that customers never give out such information as their bank does not do business in this manner. First Liberty National Bank describes this type of scam as “phishing” and further describes this as meaning a tactic used by scammers to obtain sensitive information such as account number, debit card numbers, user names and/or passwords by impersonating a trustworthy source.

 

So, how do you avoid these scams ? First of all, be familiar with the scammers method of operation. Never give personal information out over the phone. And… according to L.A.W. Publications, never call a “900” number to “claim a prize” as this will require you to pay for the call of which you will be responsible. Never “crack” under the pressure of an aggressive con artist and ask friends, relatives or Law Enforcement about their thoughts of such a call before you commit to anything.  The longer you stay on the telephone, the greater the chances are the con artist will be able to get you to commit to something. The best thing a prospective victim can do is simply hang up the phone as soon as you alert to the fact that a scammer is calling. And finally, always remember it is best to recall that age old phrase we all have heard for years…. If it seems too good to be true…. it generally is ! (END)

 

By: Capt. Ken DeFoor

Public Information Officer

Liberty County Sheriff’s Office



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