Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. They add new twists to old schemes and pressure people to make important decisions on the spot. Never give out any personal information to someone you do not know. This is one of the biggest tools you can use to fight the hundreds of scams that are hitting our communities on a daily basis. Through the mail, through the telephone, and right at your front door, scammers are diligently trying to access information that will lead them to your pocketbook.
There is a current scam occurring in the City of Russellville and surrounding areas. According to the Russellville Police Department, citizens are being contacted at their homes by persons stating they work for the health department. The persons advise the resident they have received a report of the residents living conditions and need to inspect the residence. The persons then attempt to obtain personal information at this time. At a later date, the persons will tell the resident they will assist them to move into another location during the inspection and offer to help with odd jobs.
The suspects involved in this incident were a white and black male who made initial contact. After the initial visit, the white male came back to residence at a later date and offered to help. During this time, the resident’s credit card was taken and used at various locations. If anyone has had contact of this nature, please contact Russellville Police at 270-726-7669.
“If you have not solicited anyone to come do work for you and someone shows up at your door be very leering,” said Captain Todd Raymer of the Russellville Police Department. “If you have any questions of their legitimacy, you can call the police department and we can send a patrolman out to check.”
Raymer said scammers can prey on anyone, but are especially hitting the elderly population in our communities.
Scammers are constantly changing their tactics. But understanding the science behind their techniques will help protect you against new scams.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) funded research to better understand these tactics. The study found that many of these techniques are similar to marketing approaches used by legitimate businesses. The difference is that a “hard sell” from a legitimate business may simply mean you end up buying something you didn’t really want or need. A scam takes your money and leaves you with nothing.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the first step a scammer takes is gaining your trust. The scammer wants to build a relationship with you so you will not question his motivations. They may use social media to learn more about you, including a potential “hot button” issue that may elicit a specific response. For example, they may learn that you’re single, and they may use that information for their “sales pitch.”
Con artists also use a tool called reciprocity. The scammer will extend a small favor to convince you they are a good person and to establish a positive relationship with you. For example, you may meet someone who gives you a tip about a “unique investment opportunity.”
Be cautious about all investment opportunities, business prospects or work-from-home offers. Every investment has risks, but a professional investment broker or advisor is properly licensed. Do your research. If the promised return on investment is too great, that’s a red flag.
A con artist will attempt to use his friendship with you to overcome your concerns or to discourage you from researching their offer. A true friend would never want you to make a financial investment without allowing you to thoroughly research the opportunity.
Scam artists use emotions to get victims to make quick decisions before they have time to think. They prey upon the desire we all have to get rich quickly and easily or to help a loved one in need. They use this impulse to overcome the victim’s reasoning, telling the victim that he or she must act quickly. Never react quickly to a request for money. Call either family or law enforcement and check it out.
If you are presented with a “once in a lifetime” chance at riches, verify the opportunity. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.