The Oregon Police Department has been fielding complaints and taking reports weekly concerning telephone scams, which aim to trick residents into handing over their hard earned money.
Oregon Police Chief Mike Navarre said there are currently two different telephone scams being perpetrated on residents in the last few weeks.
“We have many senior citizens who are getting calls from someone saying they are their grandson or granddaughter and they are in jail and need bail money,” Navarre said. “The person will tell them they do not want their parents to know about their situation. Many times these people make arrangements to pick the money up or take the person to the bank so they can give that person the money to help their grandchild out. Sometimes, the person will just give them their credit card number to cover the cost.”
The other scenario may seem like an old, worn out one, but is just as effective as it ever.
“It involves the person winning a sweepstakes,” Navarre said. “The criminal tells them they have to send a deposit in order to get the prize or money they have won. It is rare that people fall for this one, but it still does happen.”
In August, a resident reported being scammed out of $5,463.40 after he was told he had won a sweepstakes. On Sept. 9 and 16, police also filed reports on the same scam, though the victims did not fall for the ruse.
Officers also filed a report from a resident stating they had received a call from a male claiming to be a relative in jail.
“We get calls weekly from residents complaining about these types of calls,” Navarre said. “This is a very widespread problem and it is happening everywhere. It is a huge problem and many times elderly people fall victim to these scams. The FBI is inundated with calls concerning these scams. Most people do not take the time to file a report when it happens, but we encourage residents to call us and at least report it.”
Most of the time, telephone scammers are picking phone numbers at random from a phone directory. Many of these calls, he said, are coming from out of the country.
“These scams are being done over the internet and the telephone,” Navarre said. “Like I said, it is rare that people fall for them, but it does happen. We are doing a better job getting the information out there to people. We talk to Blockwatch groups, senior groups and children. We tell them never to give their personal information, Social Security numbers or bank and credit card information to people they do not know. Once the criminals have that information you are in real trouble.”
To know more about current crime trends in the city, go online at http://www.oregonohio.org/Police/current-crime-trends.html.
You can also visit the police department’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oregon-Ohio-Police-Division/119034551470352.