Springfield Police Chief Joseph Daly is warning residents in Springfield and surrounding towns to beware of numerous scams now playing out throughout the country, putting individuals everywhere including here in Delaware County at risk.
The individuals perpetrating these crimes use a variety of tactics designed to confuse, scare, intimidate, and in some instances blackmail victims. These unscrupulous con-artists often prey on senior citizens, in the belief they are easily confused and more susceptible to this type of crime.
A common thread with all the scams is they are designed to elicit money, personal information, bank account numbers, and or routing numbers, from the intended victim. In most cases victims are required to purchase gift cards.
“We have worked too hard to accumulate the resources we have,” said Daly in a prepared release. “Please don’t allow anyone, no matter how convincing, to victimize and steal from you. Never click onto shady links.
“If you are confused and unsure of what to do call 911 and a police officer will respond to assist you in making the right decision. Remember, you are not bothering police. When in doubt, shout.”
According to Daly, the most effective way to thwart this type of criminal activity is through an educated public. Following is a list of many of the fraudulent schemes currently in play:
Publishers Clearing House:
• Victim is informed via phone call, or letter bearing Publishers Logo.
• Victim requested to send gift cards for taxes and fees, or victim receives a check and instructed to return a hefty portion.
• Know that Publishers Clearing House does not provide advance cash awards or required taxes/fees to be paid in advance of awarding a prize.
Computer Maintenance :
• Victim receives a phone call, or a pop-up on screen reporting viruses, expired service contracts, password corruption, rebates for overpayment, and or computer compromised.
• Suspect requests purchase of gift cards, remote access, credit card information, and or personal identification information (Social Security number, birth date etc.)
• Know that computer companies never request remote access or password information. All services are either added to the monthly service bill or an invoice is sent. Customers are never asked to obtain gift cards.
Computer Black Mail:
• Victim makes a contact on a dating site and is requested to engage in compromising act. Encounter is filmed and public disclosure is threatened unless demands are met.
• Victim receives an email or phone call, about visiting pornographic sites. Disclosure threatened if demands are not met. ( Sender is fishing and hopes victim has viewed adult sites)
• Be reminded to never place yourself in compromising position while Skyping, or share inappropriate photographs on social media.
• Victim is informed their Social Security card has been compromised, there’s some sort of discrepancy, the card was used in criminal activity, and offer of free gift in exchange for number.
• Victim is instructed to purchase gift cards or provide number and other personal information.
• Know that Social Security officials do not make personal contact on computers or telephone. They would never request gift cards or cash to resolve issues, and they would never ask for your Social Security number.
• For more information visit wwwsocialsecurity.gov/alerts.
Family Member Arrested:
• Victim is informed that family member has been arrested, is injured, or in foreign country needing money.
• Actors pose as lawyers, police officers, doctors, and bail bondsman. Actors generally know the family members name.
• Police, lawyers, hospitals and bail bondsmen do not request gift cards for payment or request cash to be sent.
Internal Revenue Service:
• Victim is contacted and advised of a miscalculation in income tax filings, there’s a pending lawsuit, an arrest warrant has been issued, back taxes are due, and or they are being sued or investigated for back taxes.
• The IRS does not contact citizens by phone or social media to resolve income tax-related issues. Also, the IRS would never involve other law enforcement entities.
• For more information visit www.irs.gov/phishing.
• PECO representative reports past due bill and threatens to shut off electricity.
• PECO representative calls to report lifetime 20 percent reduction of service costs for onetime fee.
• Utility companies never request gift cards for payment over the phone or the internet. By law, services cut off must go through a termination process.
• Victims become involved in a protracted computer relationship that becomes emotional and this is followed by a sad tale and ever-increasing requests for financial assistance.
• Know that there are predators on the internet looking to take advantage of emotionally vulnerable victims that they can exploit.
• Victim either buying or selling item is robbed at meeting place.
• Would be buyer comes to home with friend. Seller distracted while friend enters residence.
• Victim receives fake cashier check in excess of the price and advised to return difference
• Victim seeking work posts resume and is contacted by would be employer who takes advantage.
• Never meet a buyer alone or in a secluded area. Never reimburse unless check has cleared the bank (minimum three business days). Never allow a stranger into your home and if you do assure, they are escorted. No employer requires upfront money. Springfield Police Department has a safe to meet spot, located in front of the building. For more information visit: email@example.com for other safe locations in your area.
Bank Accounts Compromised:
• Victim receives email or text message that their accounts have been compromised. Account number and pin numbers are requested.
• Bank employees don’t request account or pin number information to resolve issue.
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