CRIME PREVENTION TIPS
FRAUD is the theft of
money or property through deception or false promise.
Many people can become the victim of fraud. There
are as many fraudulent schemes as there are people
to think them up. Common victims of fraud are:
THE ELDERLY: It is unfortunate
that many elderly people are taken advantage of
by fraudulent schemes and plans. Most common
are schemes to "reseal" mobile home roofs,
spray trees and yards with pesticide, fraudulent
investment plans and goods or services that must
be paid for in advance, winning the lottery and your grandchild telephoning you stating they have been arrested in another country.
- ROOF REPAIR JOBS: Most of these frauds begin by
the "roof repair specialist" contacting
the homeowner to tell them that their roof is bad,
but for a price, repairs can be done immediately.
Most often a coat of paint is applied on parts of
the roof that are easily visible, or the worker asks
that the homeowner front the money for the job then
is not seen again.
- YARD MAINTENANCE/TREE SPRAYING: This common fraud
practice has a small team of "workers" who
show up with or without small spray equipment and
offer to spray trees or the yard for pests. These
workers are really the pests. The prices they charge
are usually very high.
- WINNING THE LOTTERY: Receiving a telephone call, e-mail or letter stating you have won a Lottery but in order to collect you need to send a money order for processing fees or taxes due.
- GRANDCHILD WAS ARRESTED IN ANOTHER COUNTRY: Receiving a telephone call from who you believe at the time is your grandchild. They tell you they were arrested in a foreign country for something (illegal fishing, drugs, wrong place at the wrong time etc.) After a very brief conversation, the telephone handed to another individual stating they are the Police, Attorney, Bail Bondsman and that a Money Order will need to be sent to them to help wit the cost and bail. After sending thousands of dollars you learn your grandchild is at home and never left the country.
DISASTER FRAUDS: Many crooks take advantage of disasters,
both natural and man made, to prey on the innocent victims. These scams usually
involve construction, clean-up, or loan arranging. There are many different
types of frauds that become prevalent after a disaster. Some of these are:
- FRAUDULENT CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS: After a disaster,
citizens may be contacted by persons soliciting cash
contributions and claiming to represent a legitimate
charitable organization or some non-existent organization.
The method of solicitation may involve use of the
telephone or person-to-person contact.
- CONTRACTOR/VENDOR FRAUD: Disaster victims may be
contacted by persons claiming to be builders or contractors
who will clean up or repair damages. These people
usually start with some small part of the job, request
a large down payment, then are not seen again. These
also include people who claim to be intermediaries
who can arrange low interest loans for disaster victims.
- PRICE GOUGING: Raising prices is not illegal, but
some individuals will inflate their retail prices
just to take advantage of disaster victims.
PROTECT YOURSELF: There are several simple steps
you can take to help prevent becoming a victim of a fraudulent scheme. Some
of these include:
- CALL BACK: Ask for a call back number. A legitimate
business or charitable organization will welcome
your call back to do business. Double check the name
of the business and their phone number in the telephone
book or internet.
- BIDS: Get bids for work to be done from more than
one contractor or vendor.
- REFERENCES: Ask for references and call them.
A legitimate contractor or vendor should be happy
to provide information of previous good work done.
- CHECK WITH GOVERMENT AGENCIES: Many government
agencies regulate or oversee certain types of work
if someone offers to spray your yard or trees, ask
what chemical they will be using. Then check with
the local extension office to verity if that chemical
is right for the application.
IF YOU THINK YOU MAY BE A
VICTIM OF A FRAUD OR OTHER CRIME, REPORT IT TO
YOUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY!
REMEMBER: If it sounds too good to be true, it
Crime Victim Information - In order
to not duplicate existing services, the Kootenai
County Sheriff's Office supports and refers victims
and witnesses to the victim witness liaison person
within the office of the Prosecuting Attorney, the
Women's Center or the Post Falls O.A.S.I.S. Program.
The Prosecuting Attorney's Victim-Witness liaison
person is in daily contact with other victim resource
agencies in Kootenai County. When services are needed,
the Victim-Witness Coordinator works closely with
the deputy prosecutor. Victims and witnesses may
seek information and assistance from the Victim-Witness
Coordinator. By providing a central contact person
who is aware of the full array of resource in the
community, a much needed service is provided to directly
effected individuals and to our community.
You can contact the Prosecuting Attorney's Victim-Witness
Coordinator at the Prosecutor's Office at 501 N.
Government Way, 2nd Floor. (208) 446-1800.
The Women's Center is located at 850 N. 4th Street in Coeur d'Alene, by telephone at (208) 663-9303 or the
Internet at: CDA Women's Center.
The Post Falls Police Department O.A.S.I.S. Program
is located at the Post Falls Police Department at
101 E. 4th. Street in Post Falls or by telephone
at (208) 773-3517.