CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - The Carson City Sheriff’s Office consistently sees reports of people of all ages falling for scams that affect them financially, and is asking members of the public to better educate themselves so they do not become victims of these scams. CCSO says, "The majority of these crimes are not something we can solve."
Investigators say the scams seen in Carson City are no different than what is occurring all over the nation. The majority of the criminals masterminding these scams can be anywhere in the world. They can disguise their phone numbers and e-mails, making it seem as if they are contacting you from within the area you live, when in reality they might be in another state or even another country.
Investigators say the scammers are “spoofing” their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. “Spoofing” allows the scammers to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the victim's caller ID display or making it appear that a message comes from any e-mail address the sender chooses. It may appear as if you are talking to someone locally when in reality they are in a different country. The scammers will provide any lie to include identifying themselves as a known real person who works for local government.
If anyone is asking you to send them money in the form of a gift card, I-tunes card, MoneyGram, wiring money in some way or asking you to pay taxes on an out-of-the-country investment on their behalf, investigators say you should be suspicious that it could be a scam. No government agency will ask you to send money in this form of payment for outstanding warrants or a bill. No public utility will ask you to use that form of payment, either, to pay for a late charge.
Another area of concern, say investigators, is fraudulent checks from an unknown person. No one will ever send you a large check by mistake and tell you to keep a portion of it for your trouble or as a job. If you cash a large check from an unknown person or business, then are told to send a portion of it back, you will most likely find the check is fraudulent. You then will be responsible for any money you have withdrawn to send to the scammer.
CCSO says if you fall for these scams, it is highly unlikely that law enforcement will ever be able to get your money back for you, so pay attention to what your gut is telling you and know with whom you are conducting business.
Some of the most common scams seen on a regular basis within this area are:
Telephone Scams: The telephone scam stories are endless; they range from “you have won a prize” such as money, a new vehicle, lottery winnings, and cheap travel packages. Alternatively, they can be credit reduction, loans, charitable causes, fake business and investment opportunities.
Utility Company Scams: Scammers will call you by phone stating you are past due on a power bill, gas bill, or cable bill. They will tell you if you do not pay immediately, the utility service will be discontinued and to avoid any other charges they will ask for your credit card number. Utility companies do not function this way and you will normally receive a termination notice in the mail with several days advanced warning.
Overpayment & Fake Check Scams: This scam is commonly seen when someone has an item for sale on a third party website such as Craigslist or EBay. The scammer will contact you usually by e-mail or text, indicating they want to purchase the item you have for sale. They will send you a check for a much larger amount than what the item is listed for. The scammer will ask you to deposit the large check into your bank account and wire them the difference. A deposited check can take several days or more to clear. When the original check turns out to be fraudulent and bounces, the victim is responsible for the amount to the bank. The scammer will often have explanations for why the check is so large and sometimes will tell the victim to keep some of the extra money.
Sales and Rental Scams: This is common with purchasing or renting property, homes, or businesses. The scammer advertises online even with pictures telling potential victims to go by and look at the location. The scammer will never meet with you in person stating they are not able to. Then they will tell you to wire money to cover an application fee and security deposit. Once they have received your money, you will never hear from them again, and the property was never actually available or owned by them. If they won’t meet with you in person or have a representative meet with you in person to show you the property, it is most likely a scam.
Law Enforcement/Court Scams: These scams involve someone contacting you, stating they work for local law enforcement and you have a warrant, a fine to pay off, or you missed a jury summons. They will tell you if you don’t pay a fine by phone you will be arrested. The telephone number provided by the scammer often will have a recording stating that you have contacted either the Sheriff’s Office or a Fines/Fees location with the courts. The callers identify themselves as a real person who works for a Sheriff’s Office. They also are providing a name of a local judge as having signed a warrant for their arrest. Local courts and Sheriff’s Offices will never contact you in this manner to address an issue with missing a jury summons or a fine.