01/25/08 — Wayne residents warned of scams

View Archive

Wayne residents warned of scams

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on January 25, 2008 1:45 PM

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office is urging residents to be aware of three potential scams that have been happening around the county.

The first one chooses its victim from sales ads that are placed on the Internet or any type of publication that posts things for sale. The perpetrator chooses an item and then contacts the person selling it. He will then contact the seller and state his interest in purchasing the item. He then tells the seller that he will send them a check for a lot more than the item is being sold for.

Recently, detectives learned of an item being sold for $900 but the perpetrator sent a check for $3,400 to the seller with instructions to cash the check, keep the selling amount and then wire the remaining money to a different person for shipping expenses.

He gave instructions to wire the money immediately by Western Union and that the shipper would come to the house to pick up the item.

The check sent to the seller was counterfeit check. The suspects instigating this scam are often using the RELAY phone system as if they are hearing impaired, in order to get sympathy from the victim or to hide identifiable voice characteristics.

Sheriff's officers noted that Relay and Western Union or the businesses printing the sales ads are legitimate and not involved in the attempted scam. Several times these businesses have cooperated with an investigation. Detectives are asking the public also to be aware that when you wire money it can be picked up at other Western Union location besides the one you intend it to go to, if you have the proper transaction information.

Another scam is aimed at people on Social Security.

Victims are contacted by telephone by someone claiming to work for the Social Security Administration. The caller says that he or she need to discuss Social Security Changes or tell them how the victim can increase their Social Security check. They then say that they will send someone to their home to gather information or discuss this with them. There have been several reports of this happening in Wayne County but there have not been any reports of anyone allowing these people into their homes.

Investigators said they are not sure whether the scammers are trying to acquire information from the victims for identity theft or if they are actually attempting to enter the homes to steal other items. Recently a Wayne County Citizen received this telephone call and two white men driving a blue car did arrive at the residence. The citizen realized that it was a holiday and that the Social Security Office was not open and did not allow the suspects into the residence. The Sheriff's Office was contacted and is seeking leads on the identity of the suspects. If any citizens have information pertaining to this they are asked to contact the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

In the third type of scam, residents are contacted by telephone and told that they have won a large amount of money. These people are attempting to solicit information from the victim such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers or other personal information. Law enforcement officers remind residents that they should never give out such information unless they are the ones soliciting the business.

These type of scams are not new, officers said, noting that if a deal seems too good to be true, then it likely is.

Some victims attempt to outsmart these perpetrators by keeping them on the phone. Investigators said this is not a good idea because it gives the perpetrators more time to solicit information from the victim. Residents are urged to simply hang up the phone. If they believe the call was legitimate, they simply have to look up the number in the phone book and call the business back.