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September 22, 2016
Scam Targets Local Residents
I am grateful that one of our local residents has reached out to my office to help spread awareness about a sophisticated scam that is reported to be taking place throughout Anchorage and the Mat-Su, and specifically in our area.
While at a gas station parking lot or similar location the victim will be approached by an person offering to sell electronics equipment, while another person waits in a nearby vehicle with the equipment.
The individual presents documentation that the items have been paid for, but explains that the original customer defaulted on a loan and the items were no longer needed for installation.
The scammer goes on to explain that since the items were already paid for, their supervisor has allowed them to sell them at a large discount and to keep the proceeds.
The scam is convincing in part because the victim receives actual unopened boxes which have a large suggested retail value printed on them, but are reportedly “knock-offs” of low value and quality.
The scammers appear to be using falsified identification and other forms of documentation to convince victims the deal is legitimate. They are reported to be operating at gas stations and other retail parking lots throughout Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. There are said to be a number of different people working at this operation.
The Anchorage Police Department has confirmed that this scam has been taking place. If you have any information about these activities, please call APD at 786-8900 and select the prompt “records,” or if you see it taking place in real time, press “0” for an operator.
Also, please feel free to call my office at 269-0240 for more information or assistance regarding this or any other matter.
Thank you for your attention to this serious issue. I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
This month the Better Business Bureau website has an excellent article on the top five way to avoid scams. To learn more, please read the list below or visit their website at:
Our Top Five Tips for Preventing Scams (from the Better Business Bureau)
Always be wary of "too good to be true." If a deal is significantly better, a price lower, or an offer greater than you can find elsewhere, be cautious. Keep in mind that businesses need to turn a profit. If a company's offer is so amazing that it's not sustainable, it could be a ploy.
Don't underestimate the power of a quick online search. An online search can go a long way in uncovering a con. Chances are that the scam has already fooled other people, and they have posted about it online. Be sure to check out BBB Scam Tracker for the latest ( http://www.bbb.org/scamtracker).
Pay with a credit card and refuse unusual forms of payment. Protect yourself by paying with a credit card, which gives you additional protections such as the opportunity to dispute charges if the business doesn't come through. Be wary of anyone who requests alternative forms of payment, such as wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, or gift cards.
Watch out for a change in routine. If an organization normally reaches you one way, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving a different type of communication. For example, government agencies generally communicate through mail, but scammers impersonating them often call or send email.
Don't believe what you see. Con artists can spoof phone numbers, email templates, websites, letterhead, and social media accounts. Just because something looks real, doesn't mean it is. Instead of relying on your eyes, look for other warning signs.
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