DUNCANVILLE, TX – Duncanville Police Department is currently investigating several financial fraud offenses committed against the elderly and other vulnerable citizens within the city. Officers have been made aware of new methods being used by fraud suspects, which can include gifts being delivered to the homes of victims to make the scam appear more credible. The scammer may use these unsolicited gifts to convince potential victims there is a larger prize to be had, but usually with a catch. These offenses have been conducted over the phone, by text, mail, and via the internet.
Most scams start with unsolicited contact from people posing as employees from government agencies, utility companies, the lottery commission, or even as friends or family members.
Never trust caller ID. Identify the caller and the company or agency they represent. Ask questions, but don’t answer theirs. Verify what you are provided by researching that information yourself or by having someone you trust do so. If you are being pressured to provide personal information immediately, it should raise your suspicion. Don’t be surprised if, during phone scams, the caller becomes belligerent or hangs up when told you want to verify their information. This is a good indication of an attempted scam.
Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to an unexpected request. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
Remember, if they are asking for money for you to get money it is most likely a scam. Legitimate organizations will also never ask to be paid by gift card.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact the Duncanville Police Department at 972-223-6111 extension 3 to file a report. For additional information or resources call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-372-8311.
U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain warned the public today about the growing number and variety of fraud schemes associated with the coronavirus. He offered guidance to help prevent the public from being victimized by these frauds.
“Over the past few weeks, there has been a significant number of frauds committed across the country related to the coronavirus pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The fact that criminals seek to exploit the pandemic by preying on the worries and fears of the public in this difficult time is despicable. My Office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to protect the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. We will leave no stone unturned to find these criminals and bring them to justice.”
Below are some of the known fraudulent schemes related to the coronavirus pandemic:
Fake cures: Fraudsters are advertising fake cures, fake vaccines, and so-called “immunity” pills, and including wild claims about the products’ healing powers with no scientific or medical basis.
Fake testing: Fraudsters are selling fake at-home testing kits or going door-to-door performing fraudulent tests in exchange for money.
Health care frauds: Fraudsters are offering free (and phony) coronavirus testing to obtain Medicare or other healthcare insurance information, which they use to submit false claims for benefits.
Fake protection and supplies: Fraudsters are advertising fake or un-tested protective equipment (including respirator masks) through websites, social media, and robocalls. The fraudsters have no real equipment to sell, or provide equipment that has not been proven to work for its advertised purpose.
Phishing: Fraudsters are posing as representatives from well-known institutions, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in order to trick victims into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
Fake health care providers: Fraudsters pose as doctors or hospital employees and contact individuals via phone or email. They make false claims that they treated a relative or friend for coronavirus and demand money for the claimed treatment.
Identity theft: Fraudsters are using social media to fraudulently seek donations or provide stimulus funds if the victim provides a bank account number or other personal identifying information. The fraudsters use the information entered by the victim to impersonate the victim and steal money from the victim’s bank account.
Securities fraud: Fraudsters are promoting securities in publicly traded companies that they falsely claim have discovered the cure for coronavirus.
Fake charities: Fraudsters are soliciting donations for charities to allegedly benefit people affected by the virus and pocketing the money for themselves.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office urges everyone to follow these tips to better protect themselves from these types of fraud schemes:
Ignore unsolicited offers for coronavirus cures, vaccines, pills, or treatment. If there is a medical breakthrough, you will not hear about it first through an email, advertisement, or door-to-door sales pitch. Be aware that fraudsters often use addresses that differ only slightly from the entities that they are impersonating, such as “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
Do not share personal information with strangers. Be extremely cautious about unsolicited emails or ads that request your personal information for any purpose. Legitimate healthcare providers will not call or email you and demand medical information, personal identifying information, or money for treatment they have provided to a friend or relative. Report the contact to law enforcement.
Do not open emails or links from unknown sources. In doing so, you could download malware or a virus onto your computer or device.
Be extremely cautious when sending money in any form. If a business, charity, or individual is requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail, be careful. Take extra steps to verify the identity of the receiving party and the security of the transaction.
Have up-to-date software protections on your devices. Be sure the anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer or device is operating and up-to-date.
If you or someone you know has been the target or victim of a fraud scheme related to the coronavirus, please report the incident to the national hotline at The National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the Town Hall meeting on November 14, 2019 the Duncanville Police Department presented information regarding fraud and identity theft. A variety of topics were covered and the presentation was recorded for those who could not attend. Please be proactive about protecting yourself, and your information, from becoming a victim of crime.