Don't Be a Victim

Suspected thieves often use clever schemes to victimize innocent people each year.  There are several different scams we've heard about.  The following is a small sample of some that prey on unsuspecting victims, most of which are initiated by phone or computer.  We have had residents report some of these here in our city.

Meat Sale Scam -- An individual comes to your door and tells you he has been selling meat in the area and has a small amount left.  He doesn't want to take it back to the company and offers to sell it to you at a reduced rate.  He acts like it would be beneficial to you while he will make a small profit.  Often the weight of the product is less than the package indicated and the quality of the meat is poor.  Door to door sales require a permit from the city.  Ask to see it before you make any purchases.

Computer Scams -- Never open an e-mail if you are not sure of whom the sender is, whether that is a friend, relative or a company you are familiar with.  Often scammers create enticing subject titles for an e-mail and once they are opened they contain a virus that infects your computer.  Some of these allow the spammer to access your personal information whenever you log on, use banking information or other internet sites you want to remain secure.

Warrant/Arrest Scam -- Phone scammers are using the threat of arrest to pressure people into handing over money.  The callers manipulate caller ID to make the number appear to come from law enforcement.  They tell the victim they have an outstanding warrant for missing jury duty or some other infraction and that a fine is due to avoid arrest.  We have also heard of a caller advising that a loved one is in trouble and needs bail money.  Recently, a resident was told that a family member had been involved in an accident out of state and needed money for a car.  This often preys on a grandparent who fears a grandchild needs their help.  They instruct the victim to wire money through Western Union or buy a prepaid credit card and register it online.  These types of transactions are nearly impossible to trace.

International Phone Scam -- Someone calls your phone and hangs up.  You look at the caller ID and call the number back to see who it is.  A person or machine answers but puts you on hold.  By calling them back you are being billed international phone charge rates.  The longer you stay on hold, the bigger the charge.  Don't call back a phone number you don't recognize.

As a general rule, to avoid being a victim, do not provide your banking or credit card information to anyone over the phone.  If anyone offers to send you a large check and instructs you to cash it and send a small amount elsewhere, don't do it.  Any time you are asked to send money, you can be assured you have not won anything.

Beware and be safe!

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