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Naperville
Friday, June 21, 2024

Focus on Safety – Don’t fall victim

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From January 2023 through August 2023, the Naperville Police Department took 83 scam reports for a loss of $922,214. This month as part of our Safer Naper campaign, we are highlighting some of the more recent scams we’ve come across as well as reminding residents of the red flags most scams share.

The most frequently reported scams are those conducted through online marketplaces, home repair fraud, and job posting/employment scams, not to mention scammers wanting payment for a problem via cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

Some examples of scams involving online marketplaces include being asked to send the product before payment was made, someone sending you an overpayment then asking for a refund, and fraudulent tickets.

Home repair fraud consisted of people paying or partially paying a contractor for work that never ended up being started or completed.

The employment scam consists of a “company” mailing the “new hire” a check to purchase supplies for the new job, but the “new hire” also had to withdraw the money from their personal account to purchase gift cards for the company.

We are also seeing an increase in texting scams where someone gets a legitimate looking text message appearing to be from a bank or online retailer. The text asks if you made a specific purchase and instructs you to call a specific number if you did not make the transaction.

When you call the number provided in the text message, “Customer Service” will typically already know your name and account number, making the conversation seem believable, and ask you a few additional questions. The “customer service” agent will then tell you they “are going to cancel your card and send you a new one” and ask you to confirm your pin before a new card can be issued. They even email you a legitimate looking “confirmation” notifying you that your card/account has been cancelled. You’re left thinking everything is taken care of while the scammer clears out your account because they now have your pin.

There are many ways you can fall victim to a fraud or scam, and criminals are always finding new ways in which to commit fraud. Fortunately, however, there are some red flags and common denominators to look for that will usually tip you off that it’s a scam.

  • Scammers use the tactic of making you think the matter is urgent and you need to act immediately.
  • Payment is demanded by gift cards, Bitcoin or through wire transfers.
  • Callers use intimidation to make you think you have done something wrong and the matter requires immediate attention.
  • Your asked to give or confirm personal information such as passwords or pins.

Remember don’t use or call back a phone number provided in an unsolicited text or email. Instead, call the business directly using a verified phone number located on a past bill or the company’s main website. Do not give personal or banking information over the phone (especially social security # or PIN).

To find out more information on the scams most often used and what can be done so you don’t fall victim, visit www.naperville.il.us/fraudscam.

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Julie Smith
Julie Smith
Julie Smith is Crime Prevention Specialist at the Naperville Police Department. Contact her at SmithJu@naperville.il.us or (630) 305-5450.
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