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Local residents avoid variety of scams

Law enforcement tries to get word out to stop crimes, police chief says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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When Colfax resident Robert Chipp got a call from someone saying they were his grandson and that they needed money, he thought it was a little strange. “The guy came on real strong and he just says, ‘Grandpa, this is your grandson, and I got hurt in an automobile accident in Mexico City and the police won’t let me go because my credit card is no good,’” Chipp said. “‘And I have got a plane to catch in two hours. So, would you please send me some money so that I can pay the damage on the car? My face is all bruised up and I have got cotton in my mouth.’ That was to throw me off at the sound of his voice.” The call didn’t really register with him, because he didn’t know about any of his grandsons being in Mexico, Chipp said. Chipp said the person sounded about the age of one of his grandsons. He asked for $2,800 and he wanted it wired through Western Union as quickly as possible. “I just hung up on him, and then he called back and I was thinking, ‘You know, maybe I better hand it to my better half, maybe she’ll recognize the voice,’” Chipp said. “So the guy called back, so my wife answered the phone and she knew that wasn’t right.” Chipp said he talked to his family afterward and none of his grandsons were in Mexico, and his family knew right away it was a scam. Another scam phone call Chipp received was from someone in Nigeria telling him he had inherited money, but they needed money to send it to him, Chipp said. He didn’t fall for the scam. These types of calls could cause issues for some seniors, Chipp said. “They just might sound convincing to some people,” he said. “That’s the scary part, particularly with the elderly who would do anything for their grandkids. But what can you do about it?” Clipper Gap resident Victoria Kile said her husband recently got a call from a scam company called Click2Fix. The company said all the computers in the area were going to crash if he didn’t follow the steps they gave him. Her husband spent 45 minutes on the phone with the caller until they asked him to give them a credit card name, at which time he ended the call, Kile said. “They kept pressuring him to give them a credit card name,” Kile said. Kile said when she got home she called the company and realized pretty quickly that they were a scam. “They had heavy, heavy accents,” Kile said. Kile said she looked up the company on the website WhoCallsMe.com and said others had posted about it. She said the man who called said his name was Charles Green and others on the website said someone by the same name called them. Local senior Sue McCoy said she sometimes gets scam calls. “I think telephone calls are the scariest,” McCoy said. “I get so many saying they want to refinance my house … and I don’t know where they are coming from because my house is paid for.” Auburn senior Ron Burton said he thinks some scams that might pose particular issues are when people call or go door-to-door trying to sell you something. “Don’t say yes to anything,” Burton said. “Always make it to where you can check things out before you commit to anything.” Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn said the department works with its regional partners when scams arise to hopefully stop the crimes from occurring. He said getting the word out when someone informs officers of a scam is the department’s main goal. “We can document it,” Ruffcorn said. “We can let other people know in our community that these things are occurring. Even if a crime didn’t occur, it’s better to get the information out there … if there is the potential of it happening again, we would rather mitigate that right away.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ---------------------------------------------------- Tips to avoid scams • Don’t give out personal information unless sure it’s a reputable company • When providing checks or other form of payment to an organization, make sure there is a way to follow up • If someone calls and asks for your information, get a number to call them back at to make sure they are legitimate • Banks and your credit card companies should have your account information, so don’t give it to them over the phone or e-mail • Use one credit card for Internet purchases so it’s easier to monitor and check your credit card account every now and then to make sure there aren’t unknown charges there. Source: Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn and Lt. Mark Reed of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office ------------------------------------------------------ Top scams to look out for • Someone saying they are from Nigeria contacts you and says they have money to give you but they need your information or money to do so. “The best advice I can give people is someone is not going to call you from Nigeria out of the blue and want to give you a bunch of money,” said Lt. Mark Reed, spokesman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. • A supposed bank or credit card company will call you and say they think someone is using your card illegally and you need to provide them with you account information. Reed said those companies should have that information and shouldn’t need to ask you for it. He said to not ever give out the security number on the back of your card. • Someone buys something from you on Craiglist and sends you a cashier’s check for more than the amount. They ask you to send them the balance when you cash it. You send them the money and then the bank comes back and says the check was no good. You are now out the money you sent them and are responsible for the amount of the check. You have also lost your item if you already sold it to them. Source: Lt. Mark Reed of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office