Scam Artists Will Try Anything To Get What They Want

Over the phone, or in person.

Sometimes posing as a stranded motorist looking to use the phone. And sometimes requesting money by email to help a supposed relative in dire straits.

The scam attempts are as common as they are creative, police say.

No matter the method, most scammers have one objective in mind: to obtain personal information such as names, dates of birth and Social Security and credit card numbers.

Recent attempts, according to the Jamestown Police Department, involve people posing as utility workers looking to gain entry into residences. Three attempts were reported last week, and allegedly involved men seen in a dark-colored vehicle.

The attempts failed and no further complaints were received over the weekend, Jamestown police Capt. Robert Samuelson said Monday. The latest scams likely were designed to obtain property to sell for quick cash, he said.

“I can tell you this type of deception is nothing unusual for us to deal with, especially with the drug situation in our area,” Samuelson said, noting no suspects have been identified.

“We don’t have any direct motive, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was to get some property to turn around and sell.”

In April, police warned of a suspicious caller claiming to be a reporter looking for a Social Security number. A reporter by that name did not exist, and police used the scam to remind county residents never to reveal personal information to a stranger.

“Never give out that kind of information. If they ask for a credit card number or to confirm accounts, it’s clearly a scam,” Samuelson said.

The Sheriff’s Office in April warned of a scam involving newspaper advertisements. Victims who responded to the ad were sent a package containing money orders above the price agreed upon for service and were asked to return the balance through Western Union.

Other shams rely on face-to-face encounters. Samuelson said city police recently investigated a complaint where a woman holding a baby asked a resident to use their bathroom. If entry had been gained, police believe the suspect would have looked for prescription medication.

The baby, more or less, was used as a decoy.

“They will try to get inside a residence and look for prescription drugs,” Samuelson said. “This is nothing unusual, and stuff that we have seen for a while.”

Anyone with information regarding suspicious activity is asked to contact Jamestown police at 487-8477.