Hoover Police warn residents over two recent phone scams

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) – On Tuesday Hoover Police sent out two examples of recent telephone scams reported to their department.

The first they refer to is the “Grandchild in Jail” scam. They say the suspect will call the victim, usually senior citizens, and pretend to be a grandchild that was arrested and in need of bail money to get out of jail. The suspect goes on to beg the grandparent to not tell their parents and ask them to wire the money instead of coming to the jail.

Criminals use websites, like whitepages.com, to obtain information about the names and age of residents associated with an address or phone number. The Hoover Police want to remind you that it’s not that hard for strangers to go online and get enough information to start their con job.

One scam like this reported to the HPD involved the suspect saying he was in another country and in jail. The suspect knew what nickname that the grandchildren called them, such Paw-Paw, Nana, etc. More than likely, that information was obtained by using Facebook. The story was very detailed, but the end game is the same.

Hoover Police say as soon as they ask you to go to Western Union, Money Gram, Green Dot, or any other means of sending cash, you’re probably getting scammed. If a call like this comes in you should immediately verify with your family members that the grandchild or other family member is alright. Never assume they are telling you the truth. If you have any questions, contact your family. Don’t send any money without verifying the situation with family.

Another scam the Hoover Police want to warn residents about is the “Publisher’s Clearing House” scam. They say the victim receives a phone call from someone who states they are with Publisher’s Clearing House and the victim has won a large cash prize and/or car. The victim is advised to obtain Green Dot Money Pak cards to pay for taxes, fees, and delivery charges. The criminal will get the victim to obtain more and more Green Dot Money Pak cards until the victim realizes they have been scammed. The criminals then transfer the money from the Green Dot Money Pak cards to some other type of prepaid credit card.

The Hoover PD offer a few tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Never send money by MoneyGram, Greendot, or Western Union unless you are absolutely sure of the recipient.
  • Do not send any money or pay fees to claim prizes or lottery winnings.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone calling you on the phone.
  • Secure your credit and ATM cards. Don’t keep a written copy of your personal identification number with the cards.
  • Check bank and card statements and promptly report any unauthorized transactions.
  • Check your credit report each year to make sure no one is using your identity for loans or credit cards.

Hoover Police warn that there are always many more ways and techniques that criminals use to scam their victims, but these two are the most common as of late that have been reported to their department.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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