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 Ortonville Police Department Reports Increase in Scams

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PostSubject: Ortonville Police Department Reports Increase in Scams   Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:56 pm

TOP SCAMS in the Ortonville Area 2010: Information from the Ortonville Police Department

Residents of the Ortonville area have been hit hard lately with a variety of scam attempts. No longer aimed at just elderly
community members, it has become important for everyone to be alert to the scams being attempted against us.
These cases are very difficult to bring to justice, and most victims never recover the money lost.

 False Check Scams: You have won a lottery! Or a car! Keep it secret, and call for instructions on what to do with the check they sent. You’re told to put the check in your bank account, then wire transfer the amount needed for “taxes and fees”. A week later you will find out the check was forged. You are out the entire amount of the check, plus bank and wire transaction fees. Average loss: over $4,000.
 A similar scam happens when you are selling something—a buyer arranges for someone who owes him money to send you a check for more than the purchase price; you cash it and wire the balance on. The check is stolen or forged.
 Your new online “friend” needs you to wire money in US dollars from the (forged) money order she sends you.
 Several people have been scammed by hiring on as “Secret Shoppers”, testing customer service of wire transfer services. Your “paychecks” are on forged accounts.
 You are chosen as an exclusive business partner in a private plan to get money out of a developing nation. You may be asked to provide your account numbers, to front “trust money”, or travel to a foreign country. These e-mail solicitations and faxes often come with a “UK” address. Average loss to this scam is nearly $9,000. This type of scam is also being promoted as a “work-at-home” opportunity.
 Very persistent callers tell you, “You are eligible for a free government grant. Just confirm your bank account and Social Security number so we can put this free money into your account.” Money comes out of your account instead.
 You receive an urgent call from your grandchild, who has
been jailed in Canada or the Caribbean. She or he needs you to wire bail money & attorney’s fees, then fine money, car rental and insurance, etc—without calling parents. Losses to area residents have ranged from $2,000 to $50,000.
 You receive an e-mail from a business associate or friend who is traveling overseas. He or she claims to have had their wallet stolen, has to have cash in order to leave hotel without being arrested, has to pay for emergency medical treatment, etc. Needs money wired immediately. While your friend may be traveling, their e-mail address book was file- lifted from their computer or PDA and any money you send will go to criminals.
 You get a text or e-mail requiring you to immediately update your bank, PayPal, credit card or other account information. When you click on the link or “reply”, you’re taken to a set-up site not affiliated with your account’s institution, and you give away all your information to crooks. This scam is also done by telephone, with the caller claiming to be from “your bank” or “your credit card company”, often stating there has been suspicious activity on your account. They often ask for the code from the back of the card, which allows them to place “card not present” orders. Average immediate loss is over $800, with future worries about the security of your personal data.
 You purchase something in an on-line auction, or merchandise from a company you’re not familiar with. You never receive it, it’s not as described, you get charged twice or for additional shipping fees. Average loss: $1,100.
 You work at home, ordering merchandise with a credit card your online boss provides you, re-packaging and shipping the products on. You find out from the police that the credit card was made with a stolen account number.

The best advice we can give is to never give your personal information on the phone or internet unless you initiated the contact
and know who you are dealing with. Do business locally, with people you trust. Call your local institution’s representative to confirm the situation if you are asked to give any financial information, rather than replying immediately. Scam artists use time pressure to push you to an immediate decision. Remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is a scam.
Information provided by the Ortonville Police Department
January, 2011

New Statewide Coordinated Effort to MOBILIZE AGAINST FRAUD

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has formed a partnership with other agencies in the effort to enforce direct mail, email and phone fraud. Minnesota residents may now forward suspected fraudulent solicitations for investigation. The coordinated effort will enable enforcement agencies to identify trends and use effective means to shut down mail, phone, and Internet-based fraud schemes.

Many people in Ortonville receive fraudulent solicitations. There are many variations of these frauds but in most cases a potential victim is asked to send money to claim a prize or to be entered into a drawing. Some even include a (forged) check, which the recipient is to deposit, then wire the money back for “taxes” or “fees”. The check will turn out to be no good. These scams include emails that are purportedly from a party in a foreign country.

Citizens can help by forwarding any suspected fraudulent solicitations to the campaign’s collection partners for this effort as soon as possible after they are received.

Report Fraudulent Lottery/ Sweepstakes Solicitations and other fraud attempts in Minnesota :

• Via email — forward the email to report@mnscams.org
• Online – fill out the form at www.mnscams.org
• Via phone — report toll-free at 866-347-0911
• Via mail — send all the original documents, including the envelope, to:
Alcohol Gambling Enforcement Division — Fraud Report
444 Cedar St. # 133
St. Paul, MN 55101-5133
Fraud enforcement campaign partners include: BCA, Minnesota State Lottery, AARP, Better Business Bureau, Bremer Bank, Minnesota Bankers Association, Minnesota Board of Aging, Minnesota Credit Union Network, the state’s Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs associations, and MoneyGram.
If you have been the victim of a completed fraud, you may report the incident to the law enforcement agency where you live. Be aware that these cases are very difficult to bring to justice, and most victims never recover the money lost.

For additional up-to-date fraud information, check the following web sites:

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