Be Aware of Scams! A Word From the Sandy Springs Police

February 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today we need to constantly be on our toes or we may fall victim to a scam.  Many scams are done by con artists. Often people do not know they are victims until it is too late.  Scamsters often prey on our good will and nature.  Not all scams are the email types from long lost relatives in Nigeria.  Sandy Springs Police office Steve Rose wrote the following on scams:

Scams are alive and well.

Just when you thought we were doing quite well losing money the old fashion way through the various money markets and hammered retirement accounts and beyond the Internet scams, the old found-money or Pigeon Drop scams pop up from time to time. There are a dozen variations but the fundamentals are the same:

The perp approaches victim with found money and asks for advice on what to do. Phone numbers are exchanges. The perp entices victim with “reward” or “split of the money” scenario if nobody claims it. Says there is a lot of money involved.

Perp has “associate” or “boss” who assists in advice. That person is usually male and begins to slowly intimidate the victim during phone conversations. “Don’t tell anyone or you’ll screw this up for us.”

The perp’s associate suggests putting up earnest money or money to cover future taxes, usually several thousand dollars. The hook: Victim become first greedy, then intimidated and does not reveal her (victim is usually a female) doubts so the victim begins to funnel money to the perps. Once they feel they’ve gotten all they’ll get, they’re gone. (You’re saying: Who would fall for that? Lots of folks—fast money opportunity—something for nothing?  

This scam has several variations.

  1. Police “bait” scam. The initial part of the scam, the found money part, takes place but then the “police” contact the victim and wants assistance in catching the crooks. They ask the victim to put up bait money to trap them.
  2. Phony stock deal. I’ve seen this one out here a couple of times. Two females in business attire make contact with a potential victim in the parking lot of a large retail store. They tell the victim they are going to set up a tent and then, for a limited time, offer that company’s stock for only ten-percent of the current stock price. If the victim takes the bait, they urge the victim to withdraw the funds and return. One associate takes the funds (cash) into the store to the “office” but they’re out the other door in no time and gone. The second associate excuses herself and is soon gone.
  3. The poor guy from a third-world country who doesn’t know about banks in this country. A man approaches the intended victim and asks for a ride and then pulls out a wad of cash offering to pay for the ride. The victim says “Why do you have that much cash? You’ll get mugged. Why don’t you put it in the bank? The perp tells the victim that in his country the banks are run by crooks. (I know what you’re going to say.)  Right about this time another man, who is, in fact, the partner of the first perp, walks up from nowhere and tells the man he overheard his conversation and that he should indeed put the money in the bank. At this point he says to the poor immigrant “In this country, we use checks. I don’t happen to have one but this gentleman probably does.” The victim says “Oh yes” and holds up the check so that the perps can see the account number and the rest is history. The other variation of this one is they go to an ATM and the victim shows how that process works. They get his PIN number. The only drawback for the crooks on this one is they must later steal his ATM card—generally while they’re all in the same car.

Now, you must be saying to yourself, “Who would fall for this?” Well more people than you could imagine do fall for this and a number of other scams.   

It sounds far-fetched but people fall for this stuff. Potential victims, regular folks, shy away from the awkward task of being skeptical. That’s why seniors are the prime victims of cons involving phony “nest egg” quick investment return deals or home repair scams and a dozen other things.

Scam artists talk too much. They get the victim involved in listening and then, hopefully, confused.

A good quality for anyone to have is a polite sense of skepticism. Questioning someone who offers a “too good to be true” deal will usually crumble the phony sales pitch or “deal” they’ve set up for you. Although these con artists are good, they don’t have a plan B or C if you start asking questions.

Now go forth and do good. 




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