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Marysville police warn about increase in scams

MARYSVILLE - Marysville Police have seen a recent rise in fraud scams involving the internet and phone contacts - they are warning the public to be wary of various scam artists who are preying on the kindness of unwitting victims.

Most of the scams are similar in nature.

“They either prey on the generosity of victims through transactions that involve checks or money, or they are pitching schemes asking for sensitive personal data, which in both instances individuals should know is just too good to be true,” Cmdr. Ralph Krusey said. “More often than not, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true.”

Here are two examples. However, there are several other variations.

Example No. 1

A victim posts an advertisement for a roommate on a free online internet ad site, such as Craigslist. The scammer contacts the victim over the internet and shows interest in the room for rent. The scammer then makes several additional internet contacts, attempting to gain the victim’s trust. The scammer sends a check for rent and includes extra money for a moving truck that will arrive with the scammer’s belongings. A few days later, the scammer contacts the victim indicating there was a change in delivery of the belongings, and requests that the victim send the scammer the portion that was the moving expenses back through an internet money transfer company such as MoneyGram.

Example No. 2

A person contacts a business over the internet that is willing to pay the victim for survey information. Soon after the contact, the victim receives a large check from the business for their service. The victim is asked to deposit the check in their own personal account, and keep a portion of the money for themselves, then send the remainder back to the business via Western Union or MoneyGram.

In both examples, the victim’s bank later learns that the check is fraudulent and the victim is required to pay the bank back for the full amount of the deposit.

Marysville Police suggest that if this type of scam, or something similar occurs, please use the following common sense rules:

Deal locally with people; make personal contact with the person.

Never wire funds via Western Union or MoneyGram because it is untraceable.

Fake cashier checks and money orders are becoming more common.

Never give out financial information.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Banks will hold you responsible for the losses.

Most scammers are completing scams from outside the U.S.

Who to notify about fraud or scam attempts.

FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)

FTC online complaint form: (http://www.ftc.gov)

Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501

Internet Fraud Complaint Center: (http://www.ic3.gov)

Non-Emergency number for your local police department.

In the City of Marysville call 911 and report it to an officer

Police add that the tough economic times may cause some vulnerable people to be a little more willing to take risks, and these scammers can talk a convincing game.

“Don’t fall for it,” Krusey said.

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