Police Chief Warns of Scams - The Missourian: Union

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Police Chief Warns of Scams

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Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 8:45 am | Updated: 9:11 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

Union police are warning of scams targeting both businesses and individuals after recent reports.

Police said there were two people who were victims of an Internet vehicle sale scam, and one Union manufacturer was sent a fraudulent letter requesting bank account information.

Police Chief Norman Brune said a fax was recently sent to a Union manufacturer that requested checking account information and a signature. The fax stated it was sent by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A representative of the manufacturer contacted police to make them aware that these scams are occurring. There was no reply to the request from the manufacturer.

The manufacturer employee sent the police the following link that identifies this scam and others like it: www.dot.gov/assistant-secretary-administration/procurement/fradulent-letter-warning.

Brune noted that there was no police report filed because there was no victim.

Vehicle Scam

An Illinois man contacted Union police March 26 and asked for help locating someone from whom he was trying to purchase a pickup.

The man said he corresponded with the seller online and paid the man half of the selling price of the pickup. He arranged to meet the seller in Union.

The victim said he had not been able to reach the suspect by phone.

A previous owner of the truck was tracked to a Union home, but that owner had sold the truck two months ago, police said.

Police are working to identify the person who purchased the truck from the Union resident.

Craigslist Scam

According to Union police, there was a New Haven man who attempted to sell a car through the website Craigslist.com, but received an invalid US Bank cashier’s check.

When the 20-year-old victim tried to deposit the check March 18, he learned that the check was not valid.

The victim had only the suspect’s first name of “Tom,” and the contact number for the suspect was no longer a working phone number, police said.

The suspect is described at 20-30 years old, and may be from the Kirkwood area.

The victim gave the suspect the title to car, but the victim did not sign the title.

The suspect was with an older male who claimed to be his father. He was driving a Ford F-150 pickup.

Other Scams

Following are some more popular scams that have been reported in the area.

Lotteries — Victims are randomly contacted by e-mail and advised that they were selected as the winner of an international lottery. To claim your winnings an initial fee, ranging from $100 to $5,000, is requested to initiate the process. The requested fee is usually sent via MoneyGram or Western Union.

Nigerian Letter — This scam combines the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter, e-mail, or fax is received by the potential victim. The communication from individuals representing themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials offers the recipient the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars, soliciting for help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.

Payment of taxes, bribes to government officials, and legal fees are often described in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are out of the country.

Phishing/Spoofing — Phishing and spoofing are somewhat synonymous in that they refer to forged or faked electronic documents. Spoofing generally refers to the dissemination of an email which is forged to appear as though it was sent by someone other than the actual source.

The source will send an e-mail falsely claiming to be a legitimate business requesting credit card numbers, and bank account information after directing the user to visit a specified website. The website may appear to be very real but is only a gateway to funnel information to a third party.

Employment/Business Opportunity — Victims are contacted by bogus foreign-based companies that are recruiting citizens in the United States on several employment-search websites for work-at-home employment opportunities. These positions often involve reselling or reshipping merchandise to destinations outside the United States.

Almost always the merchandise is purchased with stolen credit cards and, if the victim who is doing the shipping, has to pay the bill.

Identity Theft — Identity theft occurs when someone appropriates the victim’s personal information without their knowledge to commit theft or fraud. Identity theft is a vehicle for perpetrating other types of fraud schemes.

Typically, the victim is led to believe they are divulging sensitive personal information to a legitimate business, sometimes as a response to an email solicitation to update billing or membership information, or as an application to a fraudulent Internet job posting.

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