Town of Durham Frauds & Scans Bulletin

The Durham Police Department in collaboration with Celebrate Durham and The People's United Bank of Durham developed this page to provide information on the scams and frauds that have the potential to prey on residences.  Since this is a constantly evolving topic,  we will update the bulletin as we learn of new scams or the re-emergence of past frauds.

The Fake Amazon Password Recovery Fraud

Details

 

This scam involves an email telling you there is a problem with your account.  The Amazon scam involves:

Problem

 

  • The Email indicates a password was entered too many times

 

  • A prompt asks: “Is that you?”

 

  • Upon clicking, “No, Secure My Account” you are directed to enter credit card information

 

Remedy

  • When in doubt, call the company in question using a reputable telephone number to ask if an email was legitimate or not

 

  • Pay attention to subtle clues like long email addresses from senders or misspellings/poor grammar

Fake Email with a Ransom

Details

 

 

Problem

  • This email appeared as though it was sent from the person’s email account

 

  • This creates the false sense that the person’s email account was compromised

 

  • Here the scammer is attempting to coerce the reader into sending payment via, “Bitcoins” or they will expose your files from your computer

Remedy

 

  • Never open any attachments from an email that is suspicious

 

  • Consider changing your email password to be extra safe

 

  • Report the scam to your local Police Department

The Fake IRS Phone Call

Details

Problem

 

  • Someone calls claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

 

  • They threaten that if money is not sent to them (the IRS) then local law enforcement will be sent to arrest the person answering the phone

 

  • Requested form of payment is usually some electronic format like Green Dot Money cards or gift cards

 

Remedy

 

  • Hang up the telephone immediately

  • The IRS never calls to request money, nor do they threaten to arrest over the phone

Family Member/Friend in Trouble

 

Details

Problem

 

  • You get a telephone call from someone claiming to be a member of your family or friend and they tell you they were just arrested, or just got in a car accident, or stranded in another country….etc.

 

  • The person or someone else on the phone asks you to send money via gift cards, bitcoin, Western Union, etc. to help them get out of trouble

 

Remedy

  • If you can, write down the details of what the person is saying

 

  • Never offer the scammer information about the person or yourself

 

  • Ask the person a question only the real family member or friend would know the answer to

 

  • Fact Check: Hang up and call the person in question and ask them if they are okay

Theft & Ransom

Details

 

 

Problem

 

  • You misplace an expensive item and receive an email/text/telephone call from someone stating they will not return the item until they are paid a ransom

 

  • Similar to the IRS scams, the ransoms are always requested in the form of gift cards

 

Remedy

 

  • Report the theft/scam to your local Police Department

Fake Checks

Details

Problem

 

  • These happen a lot with sublets

 

  • The prospective “renter” (scammer) sends the victim a check

 

  • The check is more money than agreed, and the scammer requests the victim to send back the rest, but keep some of it for the, “hassle”

 

  • The check bounces, but the scammer gets actual money from the victim

 

Remedy

  • Never cash a suspicious check

 

  • Stop communicating with the scammer

 

  • “If it’s too good to be true…it usually is”

Fake News

Details

Problem

 

  • You find a listing for the property on the internet

 

  • You contact the renter and ultimately send in an “application form” with your personal information…only to discover the person is not real and the property is not for rent/sale (or isn’t real)

 

Remedy

 

  • Always call or visit the property in question

 

  • “If it’s too good to be true…it usually is”

  •  If personal information is sent, report the incident to your local Police Department

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