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Four Popular Scams of 2012.....

And Continuing onto 2013

Unfortunately, being smart is NOT enough to protect yourself from dangerous Internet scams, frustrating spam, or devious identity theft

Emergency Scams

Scammers make up an urgent situation -- I've been arrested, I've been mugged, I'm in the hospital, I've been in an accident -- and target friends and family with pleas for help, and money.

The Grandparent Scam is one version of the emergency scam: A young person poses as a grandchild with an emergency and appeals to family members to help them immediately. Don't believe everything you hear, and be sure to verify the emergency situation before you give them any contact information, and especially before you send any money.

Another variation is the relationship scam. You meet a great person online, everything seems to be going great but you aren't able to meet yet for any variety of reasons (distance, military deployment, work travel, etc.). Suddenly, your online love interest has an emergency and needs you to wire money, and as soon as you do, he or she will continue to find more reasons to ask for money from you. Remember, you should never wire money to someone that you don't personally know or trust or haven't met in person.

Advance Fee/Prepayment Scams

In challenging economic times, many people are looking for help getting out of debt or hanging on to their home. Scammers pose as representatives from phone loan companies and use authentic-looking documents, emails and websites to fool consumers into parting with their money. Some sound like a government agency, or even part of the Better Business Bureau or other nonprofit consumer organizations. Most ask for an upfront fee to help you deal with your mortgage company, creditors or the government (services you could do yourself for free), but leave you in more debt than when you started.

They all have a common theme: Victims pay a smaller amount of money in anticipation of something of greater value, but then you receive nothing in return. You should not send a wire transfer to receive a loan or a credit card.

Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams

Lottery or prize scams follow two similar patterns:

1.  Victims get an unsolicited phone call, email, letter or fax from someone claiming to work for a government agency or representing a well-known organization or celebrity, notifying them that they've won a lot of money or a prize. The scammer gains their trust and explains that, in order to collect the winnings, they first have to send a small sum of money to pay for processing fees or taxes. Following these instructions, victims immediately wire the money, but never get their "winnings". And, they're out the money they paid for "fees and taxes".

2.  Victims get an unsolicited check or money order and directions to deposit the money, and immediately wire a portion of it back to cover processing fees or taxes. Soon after this, victims learn that the checks are counterfeit, but have already wired the money to cover the "taxes" and can't get it back. And they're on the hook to pay their banks back for any money they withdrew.

Microsoft Support Scams

The scam is pretty simple; Scammers pretend to be from a department within Microsoft which has received indications that your computer is infected with some malware. They will then offer (for free) to verify if this is the case. If the victim agrees on this, they will ask the victim to perform certain actions, and also type certain commands, which will trick a non-experienced user that the output is actually showing that the computer is infected. Once the remote connection is made, the scammer is able to search the victim’s computer files for various sensitive information. In some cases, the scam involves a request for credit card information to pay for the fake computer repair.

There is no such department at Microsoft, and they would never call up customers offering this. So if you ever get a call ‘from Microsoft’ stating that there are some indications that your computer is broken or infected - please hang up!

To check out a business or charity or to report a scam, go to  which is the website for the Better Business Bureau with tips and articles to help you protect your hard-earned money. REMEMBER--NEVER, EVER give your Social Security Number, bank account number or credit/debit card numbers to someone who has contacted you to ask for them.

How to Protect Yourself From Clever Scammers -- Online and Offline. Internet ScamBusters, the #1 publication on Internet fraud, shows you the ins and outs of protecting yourself from all the newest scams. It's a public service, published 2 to 4 times a month, and provides you with a lively, entertaining and opinionated approach to protecting yourself online and offline. Click here now to protect yourself from Internet scams -- free.

Police News

Other Links of Interest

Regional Alerts for Yavapai County
Arizona's Sex Offender InfoCenter

Yavapai Silent Witness

Arizona Attorney General

Town of Chino Valley

Chino Valley HR Department
Trauma Intervention Programs

E-Mail Department



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