Once again, DCSO is receiving reports of fraudulent schemes being used to take people’s money!!
Fraudulent schemes may come to you through the mail, through the telephone, through the internet, in person or some other way. Never underestimate the criminals’ ability to catch you off-guard.
Examples of schemes that have been used in Douglas County include:
Criminals telling victims they have won the Canadian Lottery, the Nigerian Lottery, etc., or some “sweepstakes” like Publisher’s Clearing House.
- Then telling the victim that they need to pay the taxes on their winnings before the money can be sent to them – the victim will be asked to “wire” the money
- Sometimes the criminals will send a fake cashiers’ check to help the victim pay the taxes, but by the time the victim finds out the check is fake, their own money is gone
- Criminals telling victims that they are a distant relative or grand child of theirs, they are stranded in a foreign country, or arrested in a foreign country and they need the victim to wire money to get them out
- Criminals telling victims they are with a police department, they have a warrant for the victim’s arrest, and the victim can avoid being arrested by wiring money
- We even had several schemes where the criminals told the victims that they have been paid $10,000 to kill the victims, but he would not kill the victims if they were wired $5,000
- Some of these criminals call several times to develop a trusting relationship with the victim and then after trust has been developed, they use a scheme to get money from the victim
- Criminals pretend to be from the victim’s bank, credit card company, the Internal Revenue Service, or a utility company to ask the victims for personal information for any reason
- None of these businesses or agencies will ever call on the phone to ask for personal information to verify your identity, they have all that information in their files
Tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- Never give your personal identification information over the phone or computer
- You may make an exception if you initiated the call or contact and you are certain that you are talking to a trustworthy employee of a trustworthy business
- Never wire money to get more money back (sweepstakes or lottery), or help someone get out of a bad situation such as an arrest, or a broken down vehicle
- especially if the person requesting the money is not known to you personally, or the person called and claimed to be a distant relative, etc.
- Never wire money to anyone claiming to be a police officer to get out of an arrest, etc.
- If something doesn’t feel right – pay attention to your instincts and don’t become a victim