Con artists have access to the entire population via phone (landlines and cell phones), mail, or computer. On a regular basis, our officers handle calls from residents reporting scam attempts. In recent years, we have seen a dramatic increase in these types of crimes. Fortunately, many of these attempts were thwarted by keen residents that simply ignored the call or correspondence and didn’t engage (or encourage) the scammer at all. The sooner a scammer realizes that their attempt will not likely be fruitful, they will usually move on to their next unsuspecting victim. Below is a list of scams realized or attempted in Caln Township:
There is a crime wave sweeping the nation. You could be a victim and not even know it yet. Or perhaps you have already been victimized and know first hand how damaging this particular crime can be. It’s an easy crime to commit-the payoff is usually significant and apprehension of the criminal by police or enforcement agencies can be very difficult, many times impossible. It’s not usually violent in nature but just as damaging. It’s called Identity Theft and it is the fastest growing criminal act in the nation.
Identity theft occurs when the “thief” uses your name, date of birth, address, social security number or virtually any other type of identifying type information to commit crimes against your credit. The thieves are able to assume control of your existing assets, such as bank accounts. In many cases, thieves will open new accounts or obtain loans using your information. Many times the victim is unaware of the frauds that have been committed against his/her credit until they are applying for a loan themselves-and declined. . The Caln Police Department has handled numerous and increasing complaints over the past several years pertaining to Identity Theft. We will diligently pursue your complaint to the best of our ability should you become a victim, however, prevention is key with this crime. Here are a few tips to remember:
ELECTRIC CO SCAM
Phone calls from subjects representing electrical companies threatening to shut off power to business unless payment made (Green Dot cards)
WATCH- Caller is calling on behalf of a loved one (grandchild, etc) advising loved one needs money for bail, etc.
WATCH- Caller advises they are an agent from IRS and threaten imminent arrest unless payment is immediately made (usually via Green Dot cards)
Caller/letter/ email advises that you have won the lottery (usually a foreign or out of state lottery), claims you need to pay taxes on winnings prior to receipt of winnings (usually via Western Union). One township resident fell victim to this over three times resulting in losses over $25K.
MICROSOFT WINDOWS/COMPUTER SCAM
WATCH- Caller advises that they are from Microsoft and need to perform a service on computer. Once victim provides info to computer (usually via a link), caller threatens victim to make payment for services or computer will be infected with a virus (which they will legitimately do if provided access to computer)
New variants of Ransomware, known as CryptoLocker or Cryptowall, are spreading via spam emails, drive-by downloads, or malware already on your computer. Once you’re infected, crypto-ransomware hijacks all your files, locks them up with unbreakable encryption, and demands a ransom in $300-$500 bitcoins to unscramble them.
REAL ESTATE SCAM
Caller contacts potential victim about a property they may own (usually a time-share or vacation property) and offers large rental revenue through their services. Demands fees up front. One township resident fell victim to this and suffered over $50K in losses.
Victim sent email from an “agency offering an employment opportunity”. Sends victim a check (fraudulent, requests they cash it, keep some money, and send remainder to another party via Western Union.
MYSTERY SHOPPER SCAM
Contact initiated with victim through email. Sent her a check (fraudulent) and has shopper shop at local stores and buy Green Dot cards and provide
Caller advises victim that there are federal government funds available through a grant and request banking info to have money routed to victim.
CREDIT CARD COMPANY SCAM
Caller purports to be from your credit card company (usually popular banks or generic MasterCard/Visa, etc), and claims the need to verify information which prompts victim to provide card number, personal information, etc.
Filing a Complaint Forms
Elder Abuse Unit
Senior Crime Prevention University
Safety Tips for Seniors Brochure
PA Attorney General- Elder Abuse Hotline
SSA Fraud Hotline
USPS Inspection Service Hotline