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.

IRS Scam Calls

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.

We're not making this up.

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 3/14/18)

Netflix Phishing Scam

We're reading that many Netflix subscribers have received phishing emails in which the recipient is  instructed to click on a link and add information or the membership will be discontinued. Off course, you know better than to do that, don't you?  Click here for more information.
(Posted 2/5/18)

Grandparent Scam Is Always Out There

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, 2/5/18)

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)

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)

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