Recently, your Oxnard Police Department received information that some new scams are on the rise. The details are different but the situation is the same: whether the scammer asks you for a donation, advises you owe money, says you have a warrant or responds to a legitimate ad; they all have one objective, to take your money. Here are a few examples of prevalent scams:
- Consumers are lured by a rental home with cheap rent. Scammers copy information from real rental listings and change information for their benefit (such as lowering the rent to make it more attractive). Contact is made and a fake application is offered with a request for payment. Prospective renters wish to see the home and are directed to drive by but until the rental agreement is signed and money wired, they cannot send the keys or arrange for the property to be viewed. “Owners” are often abroad or unavailable somehow to make face-to-face contact. A variation of this scam involves a supposed military member selling their vehicle or property from abroad. The vehicle is often offered at several thousand below Kelly Bluebook listings.
- Red flag! The “owner” becomes insistent and pleading when asking for the deposit and it is not forthcoming.
- Prevention: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If an owner wants to rent their property, they will make themselves available to show it or arrange from someone else to do it for them. Beware if you pay out any money prior to viewing a property. Also, check the rent ranges for the area where the property is located. Rental rates that appear too low for an area should be cause for closer scrutiny.
Job Application Scam:
- Persons looking for jobs reply to email solicitations for employment they receive or sign up for job offers on a site. They fill-out an application and are awarded the job. The employee performs the job and upon receiving their paycheck, discovers that the check is fraudulent. The scammer retains all their personal information from the job application.
- Prevention: Look out for these signs that something may be amiss. Some victims have said that they were required to pay for supplies out of their own pocket and the job descriptions are deliberately vague. Paychecks that appear too generous are often a warning sign. Beware of scammers offering to pay up-front for work yet to be done. If you are asked to cash a check that is too large and they ask you to send the remainder elsewhere, you may be involved in a scam. Lastly, make sure the site you use is reputable.
Scams have been circulating for some time and unfortunately, it does not take much to become a victim but with a little preparation you can prevent this from happening to you. Below are some tips to avoid becoming a victim.
- Do not give your personal identifying information to anyone that you do not know or did not solicit their services.
- Do not respond to any request that you send money or information to someone because you “won” a prize or a lottery.
- If you are asked to pay bills by any means other than the traditionally accepted methods (cash, check, cashier’s check), BEWARE! Some scammers have asked potential victims to pay with pre-paid cards.
- Do not respond to anyone asking you to send money by “wire” transfer. You are sending cash – you won’t get it back.
What to do if you are a victim of a scam or identity theft:
· Accumulate all of the paperwork showing that you have been a victim and contact your local police agency to initiate a report.
- If the scam was not completed, you are not a victim. However, if you would like to report the scam to authorities, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov, https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call (202) 326-2222.
Other informational links:
- FTC scam information: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
- IRS scam information: https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-warns-of-continued-scams-and-varied-tactics-as-the-tax-deadline-nears
FBI scam information: www.ic3.gov