After two residents were targeted in two separate scams, Arlington Heights police issue a scam alert and a list of tips to prevent more victims from losing money.
The most recent report, a 49-year-old Arlington Heights woman is out $4,500 after she fell victim to an online scam, police said.
The start of what turned out to be about a month and a half long scam, the victim received an email from MS Network indicating she was selected to be a "secret shopper" in the Arlington Heights area Sept. 18.
The email, sent from firstname.lastname@example.org, explained the woman would receive U.S. Postal Money Orders in the mail, money orders she should cash at her local bank.
According to the Arlington Heights Police Department, the woman was instructed to keep a portion of the money as her salary before sending the rest of the funds via wire transfer to an agent within company.
The woman received eight money orders and cashed six of them at a local bank. The victim then sent three money transfers, each in the amount of $1,500, between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1.
It was not until after the woman sent a total of $4,500 that the local bank notified her all the money orders she received were counterfeit. A successful scam, the 49-year-old woman is now responsible for all of the money transferred.
That was just one of two scams reported in the village this month, police said. While one Arlington Heights woman was getting scammed out of thousands of dollars online, a different kind of scammer was trying to squeeze money from another resident over the telephone.
According to the Arlington Heights Police Department, an elderly woman was the target of a telephone scam earlier this month. Pretending to be a relative, the caller said he needed the woman to send him money.
Over the course of three days, a male subject called the 80-year-old Arlington Heights woman three times, twice to ask for money. At her home on 400 block of S. Prindle Avenue, the elderly woman said the first call came in around 9 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Using the correct name, the male subject claimed to be the woman’s grandson. The caller said he had been arrested for DUI in California and asked the woman send him bond money.
Reluctant to talk to the male subject, the elderly woman ended the phone call, but the scammer was not ready to give up just yet.
The following morning, the subject called and again, posing at the woman’s grandson, asked for bond money. According to police, just as she did during the first conversation, the woman cordially terminated the phone call.
Then on Friday, Nov. 2 the elderly woman received a third call but this time the man on the other line did not ask for money. Instead, the male subject told the Arlington Heights woman he no longer needed the money and was back at home.
It was after that third and final phone call that the woman called police to report the attempted telephone scam.
Surprisingly, there is no typical fraud victim; according to police, research shows that fraud victims are likely to be educated, informed and active in their community. Scammers don’t care who they take advantage of; they are only interested in one thing, money.
At first, cons are typically well-mannered, friendly and helpful, however, if they don’t catch you with kindness scammers will use aggression, intimidation and threats.
- Beware if anyone asks you to wire money to them, even relatives. Confirm the identity of the person and the reason for the request. Cons will pretend to be someone legitimate who needs money or information.
- Never give a caller your credit card, phone card, Social Security number or bank account number over the phone. It’s illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
- If a caller makes you nervous, be assertive and end the conversation. Cons know that the longer they keep you on the phone the higher their chances of success.
- Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Whether you fall for the scam or not, it’s important to report cons to police and the Illinois Attorney General's office. Filing a report is vital and according to police, very few frauds are reported, which leaves scammers free to prey upon others.