Embezzlement is when a person is entrusted with your property and converts it to their own use and/or refuses to return it. If a person refuses to return property, then a demand notice is required. You must demand the return of your property, in writing, and allow 10 days for the person to return it. A return receipt is required or other form of verified service.
Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses
This type of crime is where the person is fooled or tricked into providing money. The money is obtained through deceit or false representation. Similar to embezzlement, it is recommended that a demand is made to return the property. Depending upon the circumstances, this may not be necessary.
Did you receive a phone call or an email about winning a contest or court settlement? Do they want you to send them money in order to receive the funds? These are scams. DO NOT participate or send money.
Grandparents / Bail / Accident
These types of scams use social media to find likely victims. People are contacted for a wide range of reasons. Your grandson is in jail, your daughter hit a police car, your son is being held hostage, or your cousin needs to pay a new bail amount. These are scams and the criminal often wants payment in an abnormal way. If you can’t walk in the door and hand them cash or talk directly to the law enforcement agency, it is a scam. The perpetrators target the unsuspecting and send the person into a panic. The panic mode disrupts the victim’s thinking and the criminal is given access to funds.
Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone and call the person they are claiming to be holding or the person that is being placed on bail. Please contact law enforcement immediately.
If you receive a call saying the person is from the IRS and they are coming to arrest you, it is likely a scam. Please DO NOT send any money, verify personal information, or entertain their ideas about payment.
The IRS will not:
- Call you to demand immediate payment.
- Call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
- Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
Microsoft and Apple do not call you to tell you about something being wrong with your computer. Do not entertain their attempt to remotely access your computer.
By allowing them remote access, they will take over your computer, steal your personal information, and have you pay them in the process. Hang up the phone and do not talk to them.
Be careful surfing the web and downloading information. It is very possible that ransomware or remote access programs can be downloaded, without your knowledge. If you are not sure about the website or receive weird pop-ups, quit looking at the website, close your browser, restart your computer, and run anti-malware along with anti-virus software.
iTunes / Western Union / Green Dot / Electronic Funds Transfer
It is common for criminals to request iTunes gift cards, Western Union, Green Dot cards or other electronic transfers of funds. Be extremely cautious when these payment types are requested. They are often funneled out of the country and directly into the hands of criminals. These types of payment requests should be immediate red flags.
Work From Home
Working from home is not an unusual concept. If you find an online ad or service, be very cautious in accepting these jobs, as scammers target this area. If you are being asked to cash a check and return some of the funds, the check is likely fraudulent and you will be held responsible for the stolen funds.
If you are asked to forward money or property, you are likely serving as a middleman in a larger scheme. While it may seem innocent, your actions are part of a laundering operation and may result in felony charges. Do not participate in this type of activity.
Did someone send you a check as part of a purchase or payment? If they overpay you or you are serving as a middleman, you are likely part of a scam. You will be held financially responsible for the fake check.
Trying to help someone, by cashing their alleged check, may lead to problems. If you are presented with a check and the check is not yours, do not cash it. Do not fall for the trick of cashing another person’s check, as you will be held financially and possibly criminally liable IF and WHEN the check returns as fraudulent.
Did you find a great online opportunity for being a secret shopper? Do they want you to buy items and ship them or have you cash the check and return part of the funds? These are scams and are not real. If it seems too easy, odds are you are being victimized.