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Common Phone Scams and Ways to Avoid Them

Beware of falling prey to telemarketing fraud schemes and phone scams.  Every year, thousands of consumers lose as little as a few dollars to as much as their life savings to telephone scam artists.  Everyone is a potential target, because fraud isn’t limited by race, ethnic background, gender, age, education, or income. Avoid becoming a victim by reading the list below of common scams and ways to protect yourself.

  1. Caller ID Spoofing- You receive a call where total strangers pretend to be someone else and they back up their claims with spoofed Caller ID. The scam artists might then ask for money, demand a payment, request your personal information, addresses, or banking info. People report getting calls from 'Secretary of State', grandchildren, law firms, IRS, and government officials.
    1. For example, the caller identified himself as a court official and informed the victim that she is being prosecuted for failing to show up for Jury Duty. When the victim replies that this is the first time she hears that she was summoned for jury duty, the caller suggests that this may be a clerical error in the court system, and he asks for her full legal name, date of birth, and Social Security number to check the official summons files. The scam artist informs the victim that this data will be kept confidential, but it is required for cancellation of the outstanding arrest warrant.
  2. Charities & Fundraising Fraud-You may receive calls from scam artists posing as a charity and asking for donations. However, the charity is either non-existent or unaware of the solicitation.
  3. Credit and Loan Offers- In this scenario a scam artist promises a consumer a loan or a credit card on very attractive terms. All the consumer has to do is just send a processing fee, or provide checking account info, and the offer is guaranteed.  After the payment is made the company disappears, and the victim is often left with an empty checking account.
  4. Identity Theft & Telemarketing- Scam artists lie on the telephone to get your personal information. They may lie about who they are, claiming that they're from a legitimate company and that you have a problem with your account. Or they may pose as representatives of a bank or government agency and ask you to confirm your billing information. Once they have your personal information, they can use it to commit identity theft charging your existing credit cards, opening new credit cards, checking, or savings accounts, writing fraudulent checks, or taking out loans in your name.
  5. Sweepstakes and Lotteries- “Congratulations, it's your lucky day! You've just won $5,000!” If you get a phone call or a letter with a message like this, be skeptical. Scam artists often use the promise of a valuable prize or award to entice consumers to send money, buy overpriced products or services, or contribute to bogus charities. People who fall for their ploys may end up paying more and more for the products — if they ever get them at all.

Ways to Protect Yourself:

  • Never give out your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number on the phone
  • Always ask for written information before you agree to anything
  • Reduce telemarketing calls by registering your number on the National Do Not Call Registry-Beware this may not eliminate all calls by scam artists.
  • Look out for these frequently used “lines”:

        “You’ve been specially selected to hear this offer.”

        “You’ll get a wonderful free bonus if you buy our product.”

        “You’ve won big money in a foreign lottery.”

        “You must send money right away.”

        “We’ll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.”

For more information or to report a scam contact:

-The Federal Trade Commission: call 1-877-382-4357 or visit http://www.ftc.gov

-Ill Attorney General Lisa Madigan: call 1-800-386-5438 or visit http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/filecomplaint.html

-Mundelein Police Department: call 1-847-968-4600 or visit www.mundelein.org/police

 

How to prevent yourself from being a victim of a vehicle burglary

  • Keep your vehicle doors locked at all times.
  • DO NOT leave valuables in your vehicle.
  • DO NOT leave keys to your vehicle inside the vehicle.
  • DO NOT leave the vehicle running unattended.
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