Family Member Arrested, Sick or Injured Telephone Scam

Victims are told that a family member has been arrested and they need money to post bail or that a family member is sick/injured and needs money for medical care.

Typically, the person arrested will be placing the phone calls for assistance. A law enforcement agency or jail will accept cash and/or credit/debit cards but NOT MoneyGrams, VISA Vanilla gift cards, iTunes gift cards, etc. A law enforcement agency or jail also will not threaten you if you question them or refuse to pay and they WILL NOT make repeated calls.

Verify that the family member is actually sick, injured or out of town by calling other relatives to confirm. DO NOT provide any personal or banking information over the phone to unsolicited callers.

Winning Lottery Ticket Telephone/Email Scam

Victims are informed that they won a lottery (usually a foreign country) but they have to post a certain amount of money to “show good faith” until the winning ticket can be cashed. This scam is done either on the telephone or through email. The first thing you must ask yourself is “did I play this lottery?” If the answer is NO then you DID NOT win! No legitimate lottery will ask you to post any money in order to claim your prize. NOBODY you don’t know will arbitrarily select you to share their winnings.

Home Repair Fraud

These are situations where somebody will approach you and offer to perform unsolicited home repairs. They usually works in groups of two or more and be in either an unmarked truck/van or a vehicle with magnetic signs advertising their “business”. The more common method will be one person attempting to gain entrance to your residence by either having to inspect something inside or to get a different view of something outside. DO NOT LET ANYONE YOU DO NOT KNOW INSIDE YOUR HOME. Once inside they will try to distract you so other people can attempt to steal various items. Other ploys may include shoddy or unnecessary work or demanding partial pre-payment for “materials” and then never returning to do the job. ALWAYS CHECK BUSINESS CREDENTIALS & REPUTATIONS FOR ANY CONTRACTOR.

REMEMBER

  • NEVER give any personal information (i.e.: DOB, SSN, Banking or Credit Card info) to ANYONE that calls you or sends an unsolicited email.
  • Other telephone/email scams could involve relatives in accidents (needing money for medical expenses), and miscellaneous charities.
  • Don’t be afraid to check the source (lottery sponsor, police department/county jail, charitable organization.
  • If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
  • IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

    Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

    Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

    Email Phishing Scam: “Update your IRS e-file”
    These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between “IRS” and “gov”), though notably, not IRS.gov (with a dot). . These emails are not from the IRS. Taxpayers who get these messages should not respond to the email or click on the links. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.

    IRS Telephone Assistance for Individuals (Toll-Free): 800-829-1040

    Residential Burglaries and Burglaries from Motor Vehicle

    In recent weeks, there has been an increase in residential burglaries throughout town, as well as items being taken out of vehicles. Burglars and thieves look for opportunities that offer easy entrance and a quick getaway. Luckily, there are several easy steps that residents can take to drastically cut down the chances of being a victim of these crimes.

    • Always keep your doors and windows locked – Many people remember to lock their doors before leaving their home unattended. But an open ground level window can appear to a burglar as an easy point of entry. Your local hardware store sells special locks for double hung windows and basement style windows that allow them to be open several inches, but still secure.
    • Always keep your doors and windows locked – Many people remember to lock their doors before leaving their home unattended. But an open ground level window can appear to a burglar as an easy point of entry. Your local hardware store sells special locks for double hung windows and basement style windows that allow them to be open several inches, but still secure.
    • If you plan to be away, make it appear as though someone is home – This can be as simple as keeping a light on, or on a timer. Or leaving the TV on.
    • Install outdoor lighting to shine on key areas – Motion lights are perfect for garage entrances and the sides of a residence. And keeping a porch light on at night will help keep prowlers away. 
    • Keep landscaping short enough to offer no hiding places – If you have bushes around front windows, keep them trim enough that you can still clearly see out your window.
    • Always lock your vehicle doors, and remove valuables or keep them out of sight – Unlocked vehicles are easy targets for thieves, even if the vehicle is in a garage! Sometimes an offender will check car door handles without even knowing what they might find inside. Typically, locking the door is enough to make them think twice, but sometimes if valuables (such as a GPS unit, or laptop) are left in plain view, a smash and grab can be attempted. Try to remove valuables from the car, or keep them in the trunk.

    Lastly, stay vigilant. If you see suspicious subjects or vehicles in the area that don’t belong, don’t hesitate to call the police. Try to pay attention to descriptive traits, such as a vehicle make model and color, and the clothing description of subjects that come to your door. And remember that soliciting in Hickory Hills is not allowed!

    Ruse Burglaries

    The Hickory Hills Police would like to inform all residents that there has been a substantial increase in Ruse/Gypsy type burglaries. There have been about 10 reported attempts and actual burglaries since January of this year. The offenders may appear to be male Hispanic or Arab and generally target elderly citizens. During the crime, the offender will advise the victim home owner that they recently purchased the home behind the victim’s home. The offender will then walk into the home and attempt to lure the victim to the rear of the residence to show them some work they will be doing on the new home. While the victim is in the rear of the residence, other offenders will make entry into the home and steal jewelry and other valuable items. Other variations of the crime include the offenders saying they work for the water department and need to gain entry into the residence. And again lure the victim to the basement or other part of the home. Also be aware of subjects offering to reseal your driveway or other unsolicited repairs of your home.

    We would like all citizens to take precautions when dealing with any unknown subjects that come to your home. Do not let anyone unknown to you into your home. Always try to keep the storm door locked when talking to unknown subjects. Request identification from anyone who says they are from any city department. Ensure that they have proper identification prior to allowing them into your home. If you have any doubts about the person trying to get into your home, Call The Police.

    When you call the police, let them know who you are and your address. Then let them know that an unknown person is trying to gain entry to your home. Try to provide the police with a description of the subject. If you see a vehicle, let the police know the type and color of the vehicle.