Scammers Have Been Busy This Morning! Another Round of Scam Phone Calls Hitting Area Residents #GVCopBeat
We are getting multiple reports this morning of another round of scam phone calls hitting the area. The caller claims to be from the U.S. Treasury and tells the would-be victims they must appear in front of a magistrate for charges against them. The scammer then gives a phone number to call for more details. The calls are coming from a 607 area code.
Protect yourself! Never give out any personal or bank information to anyone unless you are 100% sure who they are what they will be doing with the information.
If you received one of these calls, you DO NOT need to call us UNLESS you have provided the caller with your personal information or have lost money due to the scam. You can get more information about protecting yourself and what to do when you receive one of these calls at stopfraudcolorado.gov .
Local Senior Citizens Being Targeted By Scammers: Recent Losses In The Tens of Thousands of Dollars #GVCopBeat
Scammers who are targeting senior citizens aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. We are continuing to hear from residents who have been targeted in various scams, including the lottery sweepstakes scam that continues to hit our area. Unfortunately for at least one local victim, the scammers made off with more than $25,000, and we believe there are likely other people out there that either haven’t realized they are victims yet, or who simply have not come forward to report it.
The scam can look like a simple letter, or a more elaborate package of documents; it seems the versions are unlimited. The documents often claim the organization is international or from another country. What they all have in common, however, is they state the recipient of the mailing has won a large sum of money in a lottery or sweepstakes, and the only thing the person needs to do to claim the prize is to send money to cover the taxes, processing, etc. Sometimes the scammer will include a bogus check with the mailing, instructing the person to deposit that check into a bank account and immediately mail back the money to cover costs. Those checks are fake, but by the time the victim realizes it his or her own money is long gone.
While these scams have the potential to hit any of us, it appears they are especially able to target senior citizens. Seniors should be particularly cautious about responding to unsolicited mailings or phone calls. Some things to consider are that if you didn’t enter a contest or lottery, you aren’t going to win it, and that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also consider that the IRS will contact you directly should you owe them money, not use a third party to collect from you.
Unfortunately the vast majority of these scams originate overseas, so there is little our agency can do once your money is gone. That’s why we continue to educate our community about what scams we are seeing, with the hope that we can prevent people from becoming victims in the first place. Listen to an interview with one of our fraud investigators to learn more about other scams we see here, or visit our website for a list of other types of scams that frequently come through our area.
The first scam involves a caller, possibly identifying himself as “John Ross with UPS”, who tells the potential victim they have a package from Publisher’s Clearing House. The package is apparently a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The second scam involves a call with an automated voice message that states, “Your Mastercard has been lost, please press 4 to connect with security.”
Whenever you receive an unsolicited call, piece of mail, or email claiming you have won a large amount of money, or claiming your bank or credit account has been compromised, ALWAYS verify first. Do not use the phone numbers or website provided by the person who contacted you. Instead, make sure to use contact information that you know is legitimate, such as phone numbers or websites listed on your bank or credit card statements. Also remember that someone who tells you that you have won a big prize from a game or lottery you have never played is probably trying to take advantage of you and your money.
For more information about various scams that often come through our area visit our website: www.gjcity.org/fraud
The Grand Junction Police Department, through the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, has received several reports recently of local residents who appear to be the targets of aggressive or fraudulent debt collectors. The victims received phone calls from people who claim to be with a debt collection agency. The callers demand a sum of money and then go on to say that if money isn’t paid the matter will be turned over to the D.A.’s office for criminal prosecution. In some cases the caller says an arrest warrant has already been issued. None of these claims are true.
If you receive one of these calls, never give the caller any personal information or bank account information. Instead, report the call to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by calling their complaint line (855-411-2372) or by filing the report online here.
Here are some other tips:
- Ask the caller for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell the caller that you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written “validation notice.” The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If a caller refuses to give you all of this information, do not pay! Paying a fake debt collector will not always make them go away. They may make up another debt to try to get more money from you.
- Stop speaking with the caller. If you have the caller’s address, send a letter demanding that the caller stop contacting you, and keep a copy for your files. By law, real debt collectors must stop calling you if you ask them to in writing.
- Do not give the caller personal financial or other sensitive information. Never give out or confirm personal financial or other sensitive information like your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number unless you know whom you’re dealing with. Scam artists, like fake debt collectors, can use your information to commit identity theft – charging your existing credit cards, opening new credit card, checking, or savings accounts, writing fraudulent checks, or taking out loans in your name.
- Contact your creditor. If the debt is legitimate – but you think the collector may not be – contact your creditor about the calls. Share the information you have about the suspicious calls and find out who, if anyone, the creditor has authorized to collect the debt.
For more information about this, and other scams circulating through the country, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.
For more information about other types of scams hitting our area, listen to our podcast on The Insider on the GJPD Patrol.