FARMERS BRANCH ~ Although there has not been a substantial increase in reported scams, Farmers Branch Police want to be sure citizens are educated on the work done by con artists, in hopes of avoiding victimization.
Farmers Branch Police Lieutenant Jay Siegel said scams come in a variety of guises but usually have some common patterns.
“Unsolicited mail, unsolicited emails, unsolicited phone calls and unsolicited home contacts with an offer too good to be true is usually too good to be true,” he explained. “Any promise of a large sum of money or any effort to obtain personal financial information is a scam.”
Lt. Siegel added that sometimes the pitch will be that you have to pay money before getting money, or you are being asked to wire money or purchase prepaid debit cards.
“People should listen to that voice inside their heads and realize when something is wrong with what they’re being told,” he said. “People perpetrating these scams are convincing, relentless and unscrupulous. They will try to endear themselves by aligning with your religious beliefs or political affiliation.
“Sometimes they will pretend to be your bank or financial institution or prey on personal tragedy or even pretend to be law enforcement in order to threaten and intimidate.”
Anyone being scammed should call the Farmers Branch Police Department at 972.484.3620.
The most common scams being committed are:
• Foreign Lottery Scams - Foreign lottery scams are also known as advanced fee scams. These occur when the scammer convinces you to pay money in advance before you can collect your winnings. • Home Repair Scams – Scammers go door to door and present themselves as roofers, contractors, etc. They charge for unnecessary repairs, overcharge for work done, and ask for payment upfront and then never do the work. Be cautious of unsolicited door-to-door home improvement offers. If home repairs are needed, seek out reputable home repair businesses and check their references.
• Pigeon Drop Scams - The scammer approaches you about a large amount of money that he has in his possession. He tells you that he needs money from you to secure the cash and promises that you will receive a large sum for your help. A third person is often inserted into the scam, pretending not to know the scammer. That third person may even show you a large amount of money to convince you to invest.• Identity Crime - Be on alert for people who ask you for your social security number, bank account number, or credit card number. Scammers will use a variety of methods to convince you to give them this information.
• Investment Scams - High pressure sales tactics are used to convince people to invest in a business or some endeavor with the promise of immediate, guaranteed returns. • Check Overpayment Scams - Scammers seek you out through a classified ad or online auction postings and offer to pay for the item with a check. The scammer then comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price of the item and provides instructions for you to wire back the difference after the check is deposited. The check ultimately bounces and you are left liable for the entire amount.
• Prepaid Reloadable Debit Card Scams - The scammer convinces you to purchase a reloadable debit card, such as a Green Dot card or Wal-Mart card, and load the card with a set amount of money. They then convince you to give them the numbers off this card. The money is then instantly transferred to their account.
Notify the Farmers Branch Police Department at 972.484.3620 if you or someone you know is being scammed. If you are called by someone who you suspect is a telemarketing scammer, hang up. If they continue to call you in a harassing manner, call the police.
Please visit the resources listed below for more information on scams and what you can do to defend yourself against these practices:
Texas Attorney General WebsiteInternet Crime Complaint CenterFederal Trade Commission