Current Scam Information

Scam-Alert.pngHere's a brief rundown of some of the latest scams that are floating around. Much of the information has been obtained from the Federal Trade Commission Scam Alerts web page.

Must be a miracle paste


First time we've heard this one. A couple of weeks ago we received a call about a suspicious auto in a shopping center lot. The responding officers found two guys applying a white paste to a car as a way to remove dents and scratches. The owner of the vehicle was going to pay them $300.00 for this agreed upon "service". Really?Fortunately, the police intervention prevented the agreement from being completed and the pair was sent on their way. Take note if you are ever approached for anything like this. Think first, keep your money in your pocket, and call 911 if something seems wrong. Besides, we're rather certain that a better job could be done by a reputable shop.

(Posted 11/13/17)

Equifax Breach


There is lot of information out there about the Equifax breach. There are steps you can take to see if your information might be compromised, but DO NOT fall for a phony call supposedly from Equifax. Please read this. It also includes a link to see if your info was compromised and what you can do if it was.
(Posted 9/14/17)

Hurricane Donations


It's very noble to want to donate as a way to assist  victims from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. However, make sure that your money doesn't end up in the pockets of scammers. Here's some great information from the FTC.
(Posted 8/30/17, amended 9/14/17)

Fake Publishers Clearing House Scams


Publishers Clearing House and the FTC have received reports about scammers using the Publishers Clearing House name to deceive people. Scammers call and tell the target that they have won, but to collect the prize you must first send money to pay the so-called taxes and fees. Now, we all know better than to do that, don't we? Read more. 
(Posted 7/31/17)

IRS Scam Call Warning Just Got A Bit Confusing

This scam continues to thrive. DON'T FALL FOR IT!! Most people are doing the correct thing - hanging up. However, the callers will occasionally reach someone that for any number of reasons is not aware of the scam or the real way that the IRS operates.

The caller (sometime a recording) will probably tell you that you owe back taxes and will threaten to have you arrested, deported, a lawsuit filed against you, whatever it takes to get you to pay. Sometimes potential victims will even receive a follow-up phone call from someone claiming to be the police or other agency. We heard from one Vernon Hills resident that received 5 calls in one day. Each time the resident was threatened with a law suit and was instructed to call back during specific hours. And don't be fooled because your caller ID says that the caller is from the IRS. That can be rigged.

Now, the confusing part....In spring 2017 the IRS started using several private collection services to call taxpayers who owe back taxes. However, the taxpayer will first receive written notice that the service will be used. Also, and more important, the private service WILL NOT be asking for immediate payment as outlined above. If you hear anything like this - HANG UP immediately and give them nothing.

Here's a scary twist to these calls...


During one call, a resident did confirm her phone number (fortunately, nothing else). Shortly afterward she received a phone call and the caller ID said the call was from us - VHPD. The resident did not answer it.

So, what's the police angle? Sometimes scam calls will be followed up with another scam claiming to be the police investigating the scam. The second caller might state that as part of the police investigation, they need some personal information. DON'T BELIEVE IT! The police will not ask for personal sensitive information over the phone. If need be they will knock on your door and show you identification.

Here's a recent IRS document that has some good information on the issue. It includes a list of things that the IRS WILL NEVER do (such as calling the local police and/or asking for credit/debit card numbers over the phone.) It also provides phone numbers for who to call if you wish to report the call(s). PLEASE READ IT.
(Updated 3/29/17)


Employment Scam Targeting College Students


The FBI is warning college students not to fall for an employment scam that is found online. In the scam, the student will receive a check in the mail and be instructed to deposit it and send a portion via wire transfer to another individual for equipment, materials, etc. Afterwards, the student finds out that the original checked that was received is fraudulent. To read more about this scam... click here.
(Posted 1/23/17)


Yahoo Customer Service Scam


Do you have a Yahoo account? If so, pay attention! If you need to contact Yahoo customer care, do not try to do it by phone. There are ways to contact customer care (including email and chat), but phone is not one of them. If you do an Internet search and find a phone number, it's bogus. You will probably be asked for a fee and the fact is that Yahoo customer care is always free.

(Posted 1/5/17)



Grandparent Scam Making the Rounds


We've heard from more than one resident that has received a call referred to as the "grandparent scam". Like most scams, the variations are seemingly endless, However, the caller/scammer will claim to be a grandchild and will say that he/she is in some kind of trouble (arrested, mugged, in an accident, etc.) and needs money immediately.

Sometimes the caller will trick the victim into providing information that helps the caller such as "Hi Grandma, it's your favorite grandson." "Is that you James?" "Yes Grandma, it's James. I need help, but don't tell mom and dad."

Please take a moment and instruct your relatives and loved ones not to fall for these calls. They should hang up and try to call the grandchild at a number that they know is legitimate.
(Posted 11/8/16)


Affordable Care Act Twist to IRS Scams


Here's one of the newest twists to the IRS scams! This one involves scammers emailing attachments that are fraudulent CP2000 tax documents relating to the Affordable Care Act. The email will include a payment address and a payment link. The IRS DOES NOT send these tax documents via email, but rather though the USPS.
(Posted 10/18/16)

It's OK To Be Rude
This article from the FTC sums it all up perfectly.


(Posted 4/23/15, 4/5/16)