It has come to my attention that a number of “white collar” scams are being used by diverse criminal organizations, not only in our immediate area, but throughout the country.
I belong to a local professional organization comprised of directors of security as well as local law enforcement officials. The goal is an exchange of information to allow everyone to perform their duties with as much information at their fingertips as possible to do this efficiently. Meetings are held every month to keep abreast of the latest crime trends, what is being done to combat them and any new ideas members might have on the subject. This formal organization also fosters additional communication in between formal gatherings concerning information distributed in real time that might help prevent illegal activities at other sites. We are appraised on thefts, burglaries, suspect/vehicle descriptions and modus operandi from other communities that are forwarded in hopes they may be prevented elsewhere and also shed light, if apprehensions can be made, on earlier reported crimes. Information sent can also be in the form of scams currently making the rounds in hopes that greater awareness will translate to less victims. Two such scams are currently making the rounds and definitely bear being brought to the attention of PGA National residents.
The first you may find almost unbelievable, I know I did. I can only tell you this, while not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by this writer, it comes from an extremely credible source within the intelligence community who has the proper connections that could verify the accuracy of this account. It is very simple. You get a phone call from an area code 809, 274 or 876. A message is left telling you to call back. That voice mail concerns the death, illness or arrest of a relative, or that you have won a prize. When you return the call you will get a recorded message keeping you on the line as long as possible. This is because they are charging you up to $2425.00 per minute. No, this is not a misprint. It is a foreign company set up in the Dominican Republic. Currently, there are no regulations capping what a foreign company can charge per minute. My source told me this was verified by the local phone company, AT&T and snoops.com. It seems neither phone carrier want to become involved because the call was actually placed from here to one of the area codes. That is the key to this scam; we place the call. I am sure, with all the area codes now out there, there are new and ingenious scams being dreamed up as this is written. We all have to be very, very circumspect when it comes to any kind of public communication. I know I will be.
The second scam is more straight forward and plays on the underlying honesty and willingness to cooperate with authorities. A phone call is received by a person identifying themselves as a governmental employee. The reason given for the call is that the recipient of the call has failed to respond to a jury summons and a warrant is being issued for his/her arrest. Of course, the person called protests saying they never received a summons and there must be some mistake. At that point the caller states that possibly this can be straightened out without an arrest but that further information will be needed, such as their date of birth and social security number. If this is obtained by the caller, the recipient has just become the subject of identity theft. This scam has been reported, so far, in 11 states. No governmental agency, will, out of the blue, be asking for these types of identification. As a general rule, give out no personal information. If they have legitimate business, know who you are, shouldn’t they already have it? The same must be said for any unsolicited phone call whether in person or by message. Verify everything and avoid the nightmares later.