Suffolk police warn of scams
Published 9:21 pm Saturday, December 28, 2013
Suffolk Police are advising residents to be aware of a series of scams that have targeted seniors in the Hampton Roads area, according to a press release from the city.
In one of the incidents, two suspects claiming to be from a foreign country approached a citizen and said they wanted to send money to a relative back home. After driving to a nearby church, the victim was told that the relative died and that the suspects had to give their money to someone, as they cannot take it back home. The scam artists convinced the citizen to withdraw money from their bank account and put it in a box to give back to the victim. After some distracting conversation, the suspects gave the citizen the box and told them not to open it until they got home. Upon opening the box, the victim discovered there was nothing in the box.
The second scam has senior citizens being notified by a male identifying himself as a court officer or police officer advising that the citizen has missed jury duty. The caller attempts to convince the victim that a warrant has been issued for their arrest and they need to respond to the courthouse to be arrested or make an immediate payment to cover the $1,000 to $2,000 fine. The con man directs the citizen to purchase a Green Dot Card, place the money on the card, and provide the card number to the caller.
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There will never be an occasion where a police officer will direct someone to make a payment, according to the press release. For people who miss jury duty, there is a process where you would need to be present. There will never be an occasion where any warrant can ever be paid off and not served. This scam is very similar to scams where the con man attempts to convince renters or homeowners that they are from a utility company and a service will be disconnected if the citizen doesn’t make immediate payment using a Green Dot Card or similar payment.
In all these types of scams, the con man uses time and pressure to get your money as quickly as possible before you can stop, think or check on what he is saying. The type of payment is very important, as these types of payments can be cashed in by the con man under anonymous means.
As a general reminder, if you are contacted by anybody demanding immediate payment, stop the conversation and ask for detailed information from the caller. Demand them to send you a copy of the bill. Do not give out any information including address, phone number, your name or any of your personal identifying information.
If you have been contacted by a person you believe is attempting to scam you, document the telephone number, hang up and call the police.
If you are contacted in person at your home, close and lock the door and call police. If you are in a public area, leave the area as quickly and safely as possible and make contact with a manager of the property or business and have the police called.