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Beware of Telephone Scams

May/June 2015

Submitted by Bruce Dayno, Riverwoods Police Chief


Recently, several Riverwoods residents have been receiving telephone calls from con artists attempting telephone scams. Here is a description of the scams being reported.

GRANDPARENT SCAM

Callers use scenarios that include claims of a relative being arrested or in a car accident in another country. Scammers often pose as the relative, create a sense of urgency and make a desperate plea to victims for money. It is not unusual for scammers to beg victims not to tell other family members about the situation.

The scammers also impersonate third parties, such as an attorney, law enforcement officer, or some other type of official, such as a U.S. Embassy representative. Once potential victims appear to believe the caller’s story, they are provided instructions to wire money to an individual, often referred to as a bail bondsman, for their relative to be released.

Callers often disguise themselves by using telephone numbers generated by free applications or by spoofing their numbers.

If you receive this type of call:
Resist the pressure to act quickly.
Verify the information before sending any money by attempting to contact your relative to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.

Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail, especially to an overseas location. Wiring money is like giving cash—once you send it, you cannot get it back.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE SCAM

Caller purports to be an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) representative. Using intimidation tactics, the caller tries to take control of the situation from the beginning. The caller advises the recipient of the call that the IRS has charges against them and threatens legal action and arrest. If the recipient questions the caller in any way, the caller becomes more aggressive.

The caller continues to intimidate by threatening to confiscate the recipient’s property, freeze bank accounts, and have the recipient arrested and placed in jail. The alleged charges include defrauding the government, money owed for back taxes, law suits pending against the recipient, and nonpayment of taxes.

The recipients are advised that it will cost thousands of dollars in fees/court costs to resolve this matter. The caller creates a sense of urgency by saying that being arrested can be avoided and fees reduced if the recipient purchases moneypak cards to cover the fees within an hour.

Sometimes the caller provides specific instructions on where to purchase the moneypak cards and the amount to put on each card. The caller tells the recipient not to tell anyone about the issue and to remain on the telephone until the moneypak cards are purchased and the moneypak codes are provided to the caller. The caller states that if the call is disconnected for any reason, the recipient would be arrested. Some recipients reported that once the caller obtained the moneypak codes, they were advised that the transaction took too long and additional fees were required.

Call recipients have reported that the caller spoke with broken English or stated the caller had an Indian accent.

If you receive a call similar to this follow these tips:

Resist the pressure to act quickly

Report the contact to TIGTA at http://www.treasury.gov/tigta by clicking on the red button, "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting."

Use caution when asked to use a specific payment method. The IRS would not require a specific payment method such as a moneypak card or wire transfer.

Individuals who have fallen victim to these types of scams should notify the police and file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, http://www.ic3.gov.

These scammers like to prey on senior citizens. Please take the time to discuss this information with friends, neighbors, and relatives whom you feel may be potential victims.

For questions or more information, contact Chief of Police Bruce Dayno at 847-945-1130 or emailbdayno@riverwoods-il.net.


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