Sheriff issues scam warning

Published 8:40 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2005

By Staff
ST. JOSEPH - Berrien County's Sheriff's Office would like to remind citizens that your telephone is one of the easiest ways for a con artist to get your money.
Your telephone is used as an easy entrance to the home, largely because it makes detection and prosecution difficult.
Telemarketers sweet-talk American consumers out of more than $40 million a year.
The Berrien County Sheriff's Office March 30 took an attempted telephone fraud concerning a refund of back income taxes, according to Deputy Karen Klug of the Crime Prevention Unit.
The caller identified themselves as federal government IRS agents and called the home owner by name.
The female agent stated that the home owner had a large refund to collect due to uncollected past income taxes.
The IRS agent stated that she needed the home owner's current name, address, Social Security number and bank information to forward the refund.
The home owner had caller ID and obtained the telephone number.
The alert home owner hung up and contacted the sheriff's office.
The investigating deputy called the number and obtained the name of Guardian out of Seattle, Wash., with a telephone number of (206) 415-9327.
The deputy, upon calling the number back, stated it does nothing but ring.
A second scam involved a telephone call from an elderly person who was contacted by a male caller representing "Callcum Grant Co." and wanted to give the elderly caller $5,000 for a $250 down payment/filing fee.
The caller stated he was from New York.
prevention tips
Just say no and hang up.
Never give your personal information: full name, address, checking account numbers, Social Security number, credit card numbers, telephone number or date of birth.
Never pay for a prize or money up front over the phone - postage,shipping handling or any other cost.
Avoid pressure sales tactics - must decide/pay now.
Check with family, friends, senior centers or local law enforcement if you have concerns.
Remember, this is the time of the year for home repair scams, offering free inspections and estimates for roofing, painting and home repair.
Other scams could include business schemes, insurance fraud, medical fraud, property fraud, debt consolidation and bank scams.
Trust your instincts.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is.