Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Watch Out for Con Artists and Scammers!!

 


Spring is upon us and so are the con artists. Recently we have received many calls about a few different types of cons. One set of these criminals call your house and will tell you several things to try and get you to send them money. They often identify themselves as a Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff or an investigator. There are many different versions but the main con is they tell you that you have a warrant for your arrest and you need to send them money before you are arrested. They know many facts about you and they will actually use a law enforcement officer’s name. Do not let this impress you. Almost anything can be learned about a person on the internet. They will even have their phone number spoofed to indicate they are with a certain law enforcement agency on your caller I.D. They then want you to electronically send the money to them through one of several means. Do not fall for this scam. Any and all fines are paid through the court clerk’s office, not by a money card or western union. If you have a call of this nature, call your local law enforcement agency and report it. Last month I received two calls from Montgomery County, Maryland where the suspect was using my name and told those victims that they owed past income tax money and they would be arrested if they didn’t sent them the money. All a person has to do is think about that scam and they should know that income tax is processed by the I.R.S. and not a Sheriff. If you get such a call, do not panic. Hang up or if you just want to deal with them, tell them that they will just have to come and arrest you, but remember they make a good living doing this and may fool you into sending money. No matter what, notify the appropriate agency.

Another scam usually comes over the internet. An email is sent, usually from somewhere in Africa, from someone who wants you to think that he is a person of importance. Many different titles are used such as a Prince, or even a bank manager. There are millions of dollars just waiting to be shared if you contact them and eventually they will get you to send hundreds or thousands of dollars in order for you to get your share. Of course there is no money to be had and the only money in their pockets is your money. These people have been doing this for years and very seldom are they caught.

Those of you who have asphalt driveways or parking lots, watch out for the paving scam artists. Their story usually is that they have left over asphalt from another job and they will pave your driveway for an extremely low price. Many times they will just spray your driveway with a black liquid to make you think you have gotten a deal. If they do use asphalt, they do a sub-standard job and they will then attempt to charge you twice or three times the quoted price. These people sometimes threaten the victim with lawsuits or even violence. If someone comes to your door, call us immediately and get the best description of their vehicles. The tags on their vehicles are usually from out of state which is why they are often known as paving scam gypsies. One other thing they will try on people who live in the country is a painting scam. If a barn or out building needs painting, they will give a really low price to paint the building. It looks good until the first rain which just washes off the white wash that they used.

Here is one that is more personal. It is usually pulled on older citizens who are often times easier to scam. You may be approached at a shopping area or even outside a bank. They are usually two people who act like they have just found thousands of dollars. They might try many stories but the bottom line is that they are willing to share this money with you if you are willing to go to the bank and put up some good faith money. Now the victim is hooked after the found money is shown to them and the victim is not thinking clearly because they see so much money that they can share. Of course when the victim has paid their money and looks at their share, it is nothing but a few dollars surrounding cut up paper.

There are many more scams going around but they all share something in common. Greed! Getting something for nothing or next to nothing. It is really a terrible shame when an older person loses his or her life savings to one of these low life people. These people don’t care who they hurt or ruin financially. They know that the chances of getting caught is very low and if they do get caught, the penalty is relatively light. Don’t be a victim. Stop and catch your breath and think about these offers. Remember, nothing is free. Think about the old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

 

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