Amherst Police Warn Residents of Phone Scams

July 31, 2014 Updated Jul 31, 2014 at 3:47 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Amherst Police Warn Residents of Phone Scams

July 31, 2014 Updated Jul 31, 2014 at 3:47 PM EDT

Amherst, NY (WKBW) The Amherst Police Department is seeing a recent rise in scams, many of them happening over the home.

Some of the scams follow common scripts used in fraud cases, like claiming the potential victim has won a prize that requires a money transfer.

Police in Amherst have issued the bulletin below to help residents avoid scams.

The Amherst Police would like to warn residents to be aware of these recent scams:

-A phone call that a relative has been arrested and is in jail and needs to have money wired to bail them out. The caller may represent themself as a bail bondsman.

-A phone call that a relative has been in a car accident and needs money for a tow truck or to have his/her car fixed. Sometimes the caller will act as a relative, or even a police officer. Resist the urge to act immediately.

-If you possess a United States Visa, be aware that a caller may claim to be from the U.S. Department of State or Homeland Security and will ask you to have money wired to prevent your Visa from being revoked.

-If you are selling items through classified ads or internet sites such as craigslist, never accept a check for a value more than you are selling the item for with a promise you can keep a portion of the extra money. A buyer may offer to send you a check for $1,000 for your $100 item and tell you to keep $200 for your trouble and return the $700 the buyer. The check will later bounce and the cash will be gone.

Follow these few basic rules to help prevent becoming a victim of a scam:

-Resist pressure to make a decision immediately.

-Keep your credit card, checking account, or Social Security numbers to yourself. Don't tell them to callers you don't know — even if they ask you to “confirm” this information. That is a trick.

-Don’t pay for something just because you’ll get a “free gift.”

-Get all information in writing before you agree to buy.

-Check out a charity before you give a donation. Ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity. Ask the caller to send you written informa­tion so you can make an informed decision without being pressured or rushed into it.

-Don’t send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. If you use cash or a money transfer — rather than a credit card — you may lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges. The money will be gone.

-If a caller from a government office or utilities provider states you need to purchase a “Green Dot MoneyPak” card and provide them the numbers from the card, the caller is likely a scammer.

-Don’t agree to any offer for which you have to pay a “registration” or “shipping” fee to get a prize or a gift.

-Research offers with your Consumer Protection Agency or state Attorney General’s office before you agree to send money. Also, a simple Internet search of some key words from the caller can reveal that the caller is a scammer.

-Beware of offers to “help” you recover money you have already lost. Callers that say they are law enforcement officers who will help you get your money back “for a fee” are scammers.

If you feel the call is a scam, ask for a phone number to return the call and:

-Contact the Buffalo Regional Office of the NYS Attorney General’s Office at 716-853-8404

-Visit the Federal Trade Commission website at http://www.ftc.gov/. Here you can research information on scam alerts, report a scam, and register to get scam alerts by email.

If you are the victim of a scam, contact the police and provide as much information of the scammer as you can get, including, but not limited to:

Name
Phone number
Address where money is to be sent
Email address
Dollar amount lost and form of payment