Neighborhood Safety Tips
BOGUS REPAIR SERVICES
Suspect(s), usually more than one person, confront Victim, usually elderly, and say they notice that the Victim needs some work done on the roof, driveway or house. Suspect(s) ask for a down-payment for the job in cash and return in the next few days to do some kind of work. However, the "repair" that is done is only superficial and not in many cases, ever needed. Examples: Roofs can be treated (sprayed) with a certain oil to look good initially, but no significant restoration has been done. Driveways can appear to have been re-asphalted when they have just been painted over with black paint. Re-roofing of shingles where, instead of the entire roof being replaced, only the shingles on the edge of the roof or those easily seen are replaced.
Especially in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, Suspect(s) have approached Victim(s) requesting that the Victim(s) use their legitimate ID to help cash the Suspect's check, usually a second-party or payroll type of check. Often the Suspect(s) suggest that the transaction be done at a liquor store that is familiar to the Victim. During the transaction, the Victim signs the check along with the Suspect. After the transaction, the bank does NOT honor the check and returns it to the liquor store. The liquor store contacts the Victim through their signature and demands reimbursement from the Victim.
PHONY WINDOW WASHER/UTILITY INSPECTOR
There has been a recent scam where a suspect, wearing clothes resembling a uniform, has targeted elderly females who predominantly live alone. He poses as a utility repairman or window washer and requests or forces his way into the residence. While pretending to perform the "job" once inside the residence, he takes money, jewelry and has, on many occasions, exposed himself to the victim. Victims have all been sixty years of age or older. You are urged to call the police if anyone comes to your home attempting to repair or maintain property without your prior consent. If any person forces their way into your home, keep yourself safe and call 9-1-1 as soon as it is possible.
BOGUS TRAVEL AGENCIES
If using a travel agency, make sure that you check how long the company has been operating. There have been cases where people have made reservations with travel agencies from out of state. The agency made the reservationss, then vanished with clients' monies.
YOU SCRATCHED MY CAR
Suspect(s) may follow you out of a market or shopping mall parking lot and want you to stop because you supposedly hit their car. Suspect(s) then demand money for damage to their car. If this occurs to you, demand the police be called because you won't agree to pay anything without a police report.
Suspect(s) generally drive behind Victim, hit Victim's car, causing minor damage. Both Victim and Suspect stop vehicles to exchange possible insurance information. Suspect(s) then rob Victim of valuables and/or vehicle. Often Suspect(s) work in pairs so that when Victim exits vehicle to check damage, one Suspect engages Victim in conversation and the second Suspect either takes valuables and/or purse from the unattended vehicle or drive away with valuables and car. Victims in this type of scam usually appear well-to-do, are lone females and drive an above average priced automobile.
Suspect-1 approaches Victim-1 with a story of some kind. Usually, a Suspect-2 comes into the situation as a supposed unrelated party and substantiates Suspect-1's plan. Sample stories: "I have a large amount of money that I want to donate and don't have proper identification"...or, "I found this large sum of money and we can split it, but you need to contribute some money to show good faith of your involvement..."
BEGGING FOR MONEY
They approach residents stating that they live in the neighborhood and that they are locked out of their house and that they need a little money to pay for a locksmith. Suspect(s) do not live in area and are simply lying to beg money off victims.