Sheriff Leon Wilmot would like to inform the public that the Sheriff’s Office has received calls on two scams that occurred this past weekend.
1. Phishing Scam: You receive an automated call stating, “This is your account re-activation service.” The message states that your current account has been locked due to suspicious activity and then instructs you to press (1) to re-activate your account press. After pressing (1), you are instructed to enter your (16) digit card number. Then you’re asked for your pin number, expiration date and lastly, your (3) digit security code. An automated voice then tells you that your account has been re-activated.
At no time does the message identify the financial institution they are calling for. This is a scam to get your credit/debit card information. Once the scammers have this information, they can create a duplicate card, use the information to purchase items on the internet and send those items overseas, or sell the information on the internet.
If you receive one of these calls, please hang up. If you believe your account has been compromised, call your financial institution immediately. The number 206-777-1016 has been linked to this scam.
2. White Van Speaker Scam: The typical white van speaker scam involves one to three individuals who are usually casually dressed or wearing uniforms. They drive an SUV, minivan or a commercial vehicle (usually a white commercial van) that often displays a company logo. To find suitable targets, the van operators set up their con in moderately-trafficked areas, such as parking lots, gas stations, colleges, or large apartment complexes. The operators often claim that they work for an audio retailer or audio installer and that, through some sort of corporate error (warehouse operator mistake, bookkeeping mistakes, computer glitch, etc.) or due to the client changing the order after supplies were purchased, they have extra speakers. Sometimes, it is implied that the merchandise may be stolen. For varying reasons they need to dispose of the speakers quickly and are willing to get rid of them at "well below retail" prices. The con artists will repeatedly state the speaker’s “value” as anywhere between $1800 and $3500, prices often purportedly verified by showing a website, brochure or a magazine advertisement. Speakers are often given a fictional brand name sometimes intentionally similar to a well-regarded speaker manufacturer in order to mislead the buyer. Some of these fictional brands have reputable-looking websites which list customer service telephone numbers and support e-mail addresses, but these methods of contact are often dead ends.
If the victim declines the offer, the scammer uses various high-pressure negotiation sales tactics. Among these techniques are producing glossy material that details the quality and high retail value of the speakers, and bombarding the potential customer with technical jargon, whether correctly or incorrectly used. If still unable to convince the victim that he or she would be turning down an incredible offer, the con artist will almost always lower the price significantly. Some con artists will even suggest that, since the customer got such a great deal, he or she should pay a little extra as beer money for his supposed benefactor.
Overall, the quality of the product is inferior. In some cases, when a buyer tries to hook up the home theatre system to a high definition television set, they find that it cannot be done, and the claim of HD compatibility made for the white van system is just another element of the scam. Systems (typically amplifiers with speakers, sold as sets) with only two or three inputs and a lack of video inputs, with only analogue L/R/6ch RCA jacks, are common in this scheme.
If you believe you have been a victim of a scam please contact your local law enforcement agency.