Call from Grandson Needing Help Could be a Scam
Con artists are preying on people trying to help
You get an e-mail from someone in Nigeria promising a huge reward if you help him transfer money from his homeland.
OK, you're not falling for that one. Everyone knows it's a scam.
But suppose you get a phone call from your nephew or your grandson saying he's in jail and needs $5,100 to make bail.
Or a text from your brother saying he's in England and was mugged and urgently needs some cash to get home.
Unlike other scams that prey on people trying to get something for nothing, this one victimizes "who are motivated only by a good-hearted desire to help out those in need," the site says.
Strongsville police warn of a number of scams circulating in the area, including home improvement cons and fake lottery jackpots in which you have to send a fee to cover taxes and handling before you can get your winnings.
"You should never have to give money to get money," Detective Lt. John Janowski said. "If you do, it's a scam."
Also claiming victims locally are scams from people allegedly buying things you're selling online and overpaying for the item.
The victims contact the buyer about the "mistake" -- say, sending a $2,000 check for a $200 item -- and the buyer asks them to wire the overage back to them.
They do -- and later discover the $2,000 check was fake, leaving them out $1,800.
"There's no reason to ever wire money to someone you don't know," Janowski said.
• The Secret Shopper Scam -- Similar to the overpayment scam, this one recruits people to sign up to be mystery shoppers. The first assignment is to take a large cashier's check you've been sent and cash it at a bank, then wire the money back.
By the time the bank determines the check was fraudulent, you're liable for the money you've wired.
• The Work at Home Scam -- You're asked to pay Google or Yahoo $2 for a work-at-home kit. Sounds reasonable, but what you're really doing is authorizing a monthly charge to your bank account or credit card -- usually to the tune of about $80.
Bottom line, authorities say -- never pay someone who wants to hire you, don't believe it's your nephew on the phone line with a fishy story, and don't expect expect something for nothing.