Friday, August 1, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Scammers getting craftier

By
From page A1 | April 04, 2012 |

It starts with an e-mail from eBay, saying that details about your account need updating. There’s a handy box for filling in account and password information. Oh, eBay needs updated credit card information, too. Just go ahead and provide that, won’t you?

Important Subscriber Update

We will be switching to a new online subscription service on Tuesday, August 5th. If you are already a subscriber with login access to MtDemocrat.com you will need to re-register under the new service. This will not affect your bill. Please take the time today to click "Subscriber Verification" to verify your subscription with us and continue your access to MtDemocrat.com before the new service takes over.

We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and continued support while we make this transition.

- Mountain Democrat

1-Month Access
Subscriber Verification
Help?

Then there’s the letter in the mail, complete with a check for $9,584, just call this handy number before you deposit it to pay $2,500 in legal fees and insurance, and the rest is all yours.

“These things are in the mail every day,” senior citizen attorney Al Hamilton said, showing off two large stacks of letters of similar scams.

Part of the problem, Hamilton said, is that the scammers are getting craftier. High-quality logos adorn the supposed letters from eBay — which only contacts users through their account, never through a letter. The check, made out from Prudential, has the right address, logo, bank number, and routing number. Even the paper it is printed on is high-quality paper used in making checks. The only part that is wrong is the bank account number, which leads to a non-existent account.

Another scam that is sweeping the country has to do with time shares, Hamilton said, particularly from a county from Tennessee. The company offers to take the time share after being paid $2,000, a good offer for those who no longer use a time share and are not eager to pay taxes, maintenance fees, interest and other charges associated with the upkeep of a time share.

“They create a deed, get it notarized, and get documents to transfer the interest,” Hamilton said. But when the County Assessor checks the address on the documents, the address is invalid, and the transfer doesn’t happen. “You paid $2,000 to get rid of the time share, but you still have it,”  he said. And that includes all the fees.

Many of the scams are targeted at seniors, Hamilton said. “They want to leave something for their grandkids. They have no big assets like an estate,” Hamilton said. “They have things like dementia, and are more trusting of people. It’s partly wishful thinking,” he said, gesturing towards the stacks of Nigerian prince-style scams. “It’s like what happens at a casino— you get caught up, you know you are going to win, ‘I’m lucky, it’s just around the corner.’”

Casinos are involved in two other recent incidents that are similar to each other, Hamilton said, where an elder was taken to a casino by nursing staff. “Grandpa is taken to the bar, he’s given wine, and he doesn’t know his credit card is being used” by the nurse to gamble. One incident ended up in $11,000 being stolen over a 10-day period.

Another scam targeting the elderly involves one person calling an elder, claiming to be a police officer in a foreign country, complete with accent — real or fake. After asking for the name of a grandchild to “verify” that is who they have in custody, “They ask for info, and they feed it back to you,” Hamilton said. A distressed, anxious voice claiming to be whatever name was given takes over the phone. They need money to pay bail, and only their grandparents can help them, and money must quickly be wired over. Money that no one in the family will see again.

Other scams are legal and prey off of people who aren’t aware of other options, Hamilton said. One scam seeks to help homeowners gain exemptions for a $25 fee, when the County Recorder will do the same service for free. Ads offer deals for qualifying for Medi-Cal, or not having to worry about losing a house and paying $10,000 to a company that will help them fix your payments. Just paying the original payments will be cheaper, Hamilton said.

Hamilton’s own mother was hit with a legal scam when he read her propane bill. The propane company was charging over $1 more per gallon than competitors, which he was able to fix with a call to the company. Hamilton pointed out that the company was also charging a fee for record-keeping, an attempt to increase profits. The original bill added over $2, but the new fee is $9. The fee, Hamilton said, cannot be legally added on top of the cost of propane, and has started a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Hamilton’s best advice is to check credit card statements each month. Companies will not ask for passwords to accounts, and banks will never ask for both the credit card number and the security number on the back of the card, he said.

“If it sounds too good to be true,” Hamilton said, again pointing to the checking scams, “then it’s too good to be true.”

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

    Cameron Park house burns

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Supes delay petition

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

    Fire generated small city, inspired volunteers

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sand Fire 95% contained

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Two fires in town

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

    .

    Opinion

    Missing the point

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

    Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Letters

    Water conservation

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Koby

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Debt reduction at EID with Coco?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Time for change in CP

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

    Olives need less water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    EID rate discrimination

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    Second Amendment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Pollock Pines’ Fourth of July Parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    .

    Sports

    Racing returns with big 5-division card

    By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A9

     
    Camp draws good numbers

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post | Gallery

    New law tackles gridiron concussion problem

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

    By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A9

    Roundup: July 31, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Prospecting

    Sing while you paint

    By Placerville Arts Association | From Page: B1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    Things to do: Aug. 1, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2

    The making of a champion

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B2

     
    Plenty of golden fun during SlugFest

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Art on the Divide is showing new exhibitor

    By Art On The Divide | From Page: B3

     
    ‘The Flu Season’ stirs emotions

    By Ovation Stage | From Page: B4

    Time to register for classes at Center Stage

    By Center Stage Dance Academy | From Page: B5

     
    Guitar group performs in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B5

    Get a groove on in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B8

     
    Chris Young in concert at Carson Valley Inn

    By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B8

    The music continues at Bear Valley Music Festival

    By News Release | From Page: B8

     
    Sacramento Museums are celebrating

    By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Essentials

    Weather stats

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

     
    Crime Log: July 17-19

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

    .

    Obituaries

    Lisa Oliver Rose

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Larry A. Randall

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Mark A. Smith

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Jeffie “Jeff” Lee Callahan

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Patsy Ruth Wing

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Real Estate

    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

     
    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

     
    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

     
    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

     
    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23

     
    .

    Comics

    .

    Home Source

    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23