Many seniors especially are being targeted
The Tigard Police Department wants every citizen - and especially seniors - to be doubly alert to scams and scam artists who are lurking everywhere.
Criminals 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, provide sensitive information or worse.
Unsuspecting citizens in the Tigard area have become targets of such attempts to defraud. Unfortunately, some of those have resulted in victimization and loss of considerable money.
Police also have seen attempts that appear to focus on ethnicity groups, such as Latinos and Asians, but are warning everyone to be aware.
Tigard police have taken numerous reports over the past couple months from residents reporting more than 10 different types of scams. They range from bogus offers of employment such as secret shoppers to work-from-home schemes. Victims also have reported that crooks were purporting to be from the IRS or even law enforcement, demanding money with threats of arrest if payment is not carried out. Most often these calls specifically include the demand for pre-paid credit card purchases such as "Green Dot."
Police also have seen reports of criminals stating they were from utility companies and threatening immediate shut-off of services unless a pre-paid credit card is purchased and a code number from the credit card is provided.
Police also continue to take reports of the grandparent scam, Publishers Clearing House contest scams and fraudulent rental property scams. The common factor in all these scams is the demand for immediate money.
It is important to note that most businesses do not operate in that way. Legitimate businesses would not demand payment by methods of pre-paid credit cards.
If you are at the receiving end of such a demand, it should be your first indication that it is a scam. Stop and think before taking any steps. Remember, scams may be either through a telephone call, a letter or an email.
Stay a step ahead of the criminal and arm yourself with knowledge and self-confidence to stop the victimization in its tracks. Hang up on the caller when demands for money appear uncustomary. Call the police immediately.
Furthermore, do not trust any telephone number provided to you by the suspicious caller. Criminals have methods to display local telephone numbers on the caller ID. People can learn more about scams and ways to avoid becoming a victim by visiting www.FTC.gov or www.ic3.gov for more information.
Jim Wolf is the Tigard Police Department public information officer.