By Dale Gribow
If you were in town during December 2016, you noticed there were more articles in both the Desert Sun and local TV on Holiday Scams than I could ever recall. They were often some take off on “you asked, we respond”. The Desert Sun’s opinion page on 12-24-16 explained that during times of good cheer SCAMMERS bring out Jeers. If you have been reading my weekly legal column, then you read about a year ago, about Phone Scams on the East Coast heading West……………….well they are here.
The leading scams, per the Better Business Bureau (BBB), are callers posing as an IRS agent and threatening to fine or arrest you. The caller may advise you that a relative was in an accident and needs a large sum of money for medical expenses. Work stations in India “boiler rooms” call centers may pose as a federal or state agent with a scripted message advising you they are with Riverside Sheriffs and they are coming to arrest you for not paying taxes or showing for jury duty. Your phone register even shows it is coming from Riverside Sheriffs etc. I know because it happened to me and I called Sheriff Stan Sniff personally.
The scripted caller may advise they are IRS or Immigration authorities calling regarding an outstanding (fictitious) fine, immigration warrant or a phony tax debt. Telephone call centers in India use personal information, illegally obtained, to scare the victim. They launder the money using wire transfers and debit cards.
They prey upon the elderly and immigrants… in other words our neighbors. The victims are told to go to Walmart, for instance, and buy debit cards that would be loaded with a few thousand dollars. They are then instructed to read the card number to the caller.
I caution my readers to be on guard and only buy from reputable vendors and use secure sites for payment. You are best advised not to click on emails or links from senders you do not know. If the offer seems too good to be true…………………it won’t show up after you order it. Of course with respect to charities, one must be sure the charity is legitimate. The BBB’s advice that “Wise Giving Alliance” or online tools such a “Charity Navigator,” “Charity Watch” and “Guide Star” can help vet the group.
Fake debt collection claims and phony announcements of sweepstakes wins, prizes or gifts was next worst scheme reported by BBB….or notice of wins and need for financial taxes to collect. On line purchase scams and sales of goods or counterfeit goods is the next most reported scam. Employment scams; online job ads offering generous positons often feature purported work from at home options are the next most popular con.
Consumers can be hired over the phone and then asked personal questions such as your social security number. Once you provide it your ID is stolen. Of course you should never send money to anyone you have not met in person. Don’t click online links or open attachments in unsolicited emails. We are cautioned to never buy anything on line unless the transaction is secured by “https” in the URL.
I previously warned my weekly legal column readers about stickers on the back of your rear car window that you notice when you are leaving a mall parking stall. The purpose is to distract the driver making him or her stop to remove the sticker… and thus be the subject of a carjacking. When you reach the back of your car the carjackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and split. Women are the best targets as their purse is in the car and now the bad guys have your home address, money and credit cards. Your ID is now stolen.
For more information regarding other scams use this link http://www.riversidesheriff.org/crime/fraud.asp
If you think you are the victim of an ID Theft then cancel your credit cards ASAP, place a fraud alert on them and call the police to make a report.
REPORT POTENTIAL ID THEFT to:
Equifax 1-800 525 6285; fraud alert 888 766 0008;
Experian (formerly TRW) 1-888 397 3742 to place fraud alert;
Trans Union 1-800 680 7289 for Fraud alert:
Social Security Administration (fraud line) 1-800 269 0271
Please contact me with ideas for future legal columns at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-837-7500.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI OR UBER………IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN HAVING AN ARREST OR ACCIDENT AND CALLING ME ………SO DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER
“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life (DUI/ACCIDENT)2011-2017
“TOP LAWYER”- Inland Empire Magazine November 2016
AVVO Perfect 10.0 Peer Rating