Police warn residents to be wary of fraud
March 27, 2002
Local authorities are again issuing warnings about releasing personal financial information in return for a big payoff.
A Craig resident lost $1,187 dollars Monday when he attempted to collect a $10,000 loan over the phone, and Craig Police Department officers are reiterating that residents should be wary when dealing with financial matters through telephone, Internet or mail contacts.
“Once again, the department is stressing three things,” Craig Police Lt. John Forgay said. “One, do not give personal information out over the phone to anyone you don’t know. Two, if you have to pay money to get the loan or funds, something is wrong. That should be a big clue that, whatever the deal is, it’s a fraud. Three, use all resources available, including law enforcement, to check out these companies before entering into a contract or deal.”
Forgay estimated that a fraudulent letter or announcement proclaiming a financial deal or arrangement circulates in the area once a week.
In February, the Craig Police Department issued a warning to residents concerning postcards offering extended warranties for vehicles. The scam that fleeced a resident on Monday was the promise of financial assistance that appeared in a classified ad that ran in the Craig Daily Press.
The ad gave a toll-free number to call to arrange for a loan.
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According to Forgay, a resident called the number and made an application to receive a $10,000 loan. He was asked to send a total $1,093 to the loan company for a variety of reasons, including “insuring” the loan. Sending the money by Western Union cost the resident another $95.
The person speaking to the resident indicated that they worked for Wells Fargo Bank, Forgay said.
The resident was told he would receive the money in a few hours but the promised $10,000 did not appear. Late Monday afternoon, he began calling the number to find out where the money was, getting only a message saying all representatives were busy and to leave contact information.
No one has answered that line since the resident was asked for the last payment on Monday, Forgay said.
“From a law enforcement standpoint, we really discourage people from making financial arrangements when you don’t know who you are talking to, and with anyone who asks for too much personal information,” he said.