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An elaborate phone scam takes it to the limit (0)

Posted in Scams April 28th, 2010 @ 1:27 pm by Linda 

According to the Winona Daily News, a Goodview couple was a target of an elaborate phone scam. These low-life criminals posed as representatives from Publishers Clearing House, the Internal Revenue Service and even the Goodview police chief to try to bilk the couple of $3,000.

As most phone scams go, you receive a call from a “representative” from some type of company claiming that you have won money but before you can collect the money you need to send them money upfront. This is the first sign that the call is a scam. You should tell them no and hang up.

However, these scammers took it even further. The couple also got a call from a “representative” from the IRS confirming the reward and telling the couple to go ahead and send the money. Soon after, the couple also got a phone call from someone claiming to be the police chief of Goodview. He told them that he was checking out the legitimacy of the reward claim. The phony police chief said that the story checked out and to send the $3,000 to Publishers Clearing House. Soon after they also received another call from the IRS.

At this point, the couple called the Goodview police directly. They found that this was just an elaborate scam. All the calls came from unlisted numbers. Currently the police are trying to track down the phone records to catch these criminal scammers.

Underage drinking during Prom Season may lead to a felony conviction (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention April 27th, 2010 @ 9:43 am by Linda 

Prom is a right of passage for many high school juniors and seniors. However, this year the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) is warning parents, teens and friends that is it illegal to provide alcohol to teens. DPS is implementing “social host” ordinances that make it unlawful to provide an environment where underage drinking takes place. This ordinance is a misdemeanor and any host found criminally responsible of violating the ordinance will face a penalty of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines.

In fact, if an adult provides alcohol to minors, the adult can be held responsible and suffer serious criminal, legal, and financial consequences including felony charges and prison time in the case of death. In addition, the adult can face civil liability charges in a case of injury, property damage or death as well as increased insurance rates. In January, a 21- year-old Wisconsin man was charged with providing alcohol to Minnesota teens and is facing felony charges and prison time. The teen driver later crashed near Stillwater, killing one of her passengers.

Minnesota also has a “Not a Drop” law. This law is targeted to minors who drive and consume any amount of alcohol. The result is a loss of their license from 30 to 180 days, a $700 fine and 90 days in jail. A citation of this nature will also stay on the driver’s record for 15 years. There were nearly 7,000 “not a drop” convictions issued to underage drivers during 2005–2007.

However, if minors are arrested for DWI or impaired driving crash, they will lose their license until age 18. If arrested it can result in one year in jail, and cost up to $20,000 when factoring in legal fees and increased insurance rates. A DWI remains on a person’s record for 15 years.

Teens should enjoy prom night. Parents, teens and friends should remember to be responsible and follow the law – no drinking and driving.

Phone scam targets Seniors on Medicare (0)

Posted in Identity Theft April 26th, 2010 @ 11:34 am by Linda 

As we have heard, Medicare fraud is rampant. However, it may not be the senior citizens who are defrauding the system, but criminal scammers. Recently, consumer affairs have issued a phone scam alert that has hit many states throughout the U.S.

Here is how it works: Seniors who are receiving Medicare get a phone call from a fraudulent phone number – 866-234-2255. The people calling claim to be with a “National Medical Office” or “Medicare National Office.” The caller tells the person that they are getting a new Medicare card and will be charged a one-time fee for Medicare premiums or prescription drug plan. Then the caller asks for banking information or a credit card number. These criminals are very insistent and if you complain or want verification, they threaten to cancel your Medicare. Of course, this is a phone scam. These thieves want to steal your identity.

Another phone scam comes from a phone call from a Durable Medical Equipment company that provides medical supplies such as a wheelchair or walker. DME suppliers are not allowed to “cold call” consumers to get orders for supplies. However, the caller says that they want to take an order over the phone and of course needs your Medicare information. Once again, this is a phone scam to either steal your identity or defraud Medicare.

The only time someone from Medicare will call you is when he or she are taking a survey about benefits. No one from Medicare will ask you for your Medicare number or banking information.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, try to get as much information about the caller and the company including a telephone number. Hang up and report the call to your local Stop Medicare Fraud Program in your state.

Man attacked for his iPad (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 21st, 2010 @ 9:00 am by Linda 

Last week, two young thieves planning to steal an iPad from a man in Denver, Colorado stalked him, attacked him and severed his little finger.

All of this happened in the middle of the afternoon at a busy shopping mall. The man just bought the iPad as a business gift. When he was leaving the Apple Store in an upscale mall in Denver, one of the thugs started to struggle with the man to get the bag from his hand. The thief was trying to pull the bag out of the man’s hand but his fingers were caught in the handles of the bag. Finally, the thief pulled the bag out of the man’s hand; ripped off the flesh and tendons of his little finger. As a result, the man’s little finger had to be amputated.

The thief and his accomplice got away but the police are looking for the two suspects. Police are looking at video from the mall to identify these thieves.

Because iPads are very popular, it now gives criminals another reason to steal. It seems that some criminals who are stalking people are looking to steal them to make money.

Street gang alliance resulted in arrests (0)

Posted in Gangs April 20th, 2010 @ 8:42 am by Linda 

They were known as the “Flocc” street gang. Flocc is a derivation of the word “flock” with the “k” replaced by a “c” for Crip. Police said that four gangs with the Crips and individual Blood members in the New York area joined forces for a common cause. They were mad about police officers foot patrols in their area getting in the way of their illegal drug activities. One member planned to shoot the police foot patrol from a rooftop.

Recently law enforcement authorities announced dozens of arrests as a result of a two-year investigation into the gang. The Flocc gang is tied to at least two murders, eleven shootings, a home-invasion robbery and the distribution of cocaine and heroin. The investigation included thousands of hours of wiretap surveillance by the Police Department’s gang squad and the Queens district attorney’s narcotics investigations bureau.

As a result, the police have arrested 104 people with eight still being sought. Investigators also seized 60 guns, including AK-47s, Uzi submachine guns and dozens of semiautomatic handguns and revolvers. One of the guns was a 9-millimeter assault rifle. This rifle was to be used to shoot officers on patrol. The police arrested the suspect after hearing him discuss his plans on a wiretapped phone.

In addition, a former correction officer was arrested. He was storing weapons for high-ranking gang members. A 9-millimeter pistol was found that had been stolen from another correction officer along with a 12-gauge shotgun and a loaded AK-47.

The police arrested the leaders of all the four gangs tied to Flocc including the person who was the leader of the entire operation. He has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and possession of stolen property.

My Mobile Watchdog protecting your children (0)

Posted in Sex Offenders April 19th, 2010 @ 10:14 am by Linda 

“My Mobile Watchdog” is a cutting-edge technology geared for parents to keep in touch with what their children are texting, doing and saying on their cell phones. This technology was originally designed to help in an investigation involving an 11-year child. At that time, it wasn’t a commercial product and was called RADAR. This technology was provided only to law enforcement on an as needed basis.

However, as time went on, the problem of child exploitation and pedophiles made it necessary to make it available for commercial use. The reason was that a new generation of child predators/pedophiles was using mobile phones to gain access to children. The good news is that law enforcement still had the ability to use the technology and to date over 300 child predators have been arrested and convicted. Of those convicted 90% did not have a prior record and were not registered as sex offenders. It is estimated that there are nearly 700,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. alone.

The My Mobile Watchdog system consists of two parts: software installed on the child’s phone, and a web page for parents to view their child’s activity and control functionality. Information edited on the web page syncs with the child’s phone instantly in the background. The parent receives alerts of unauthorized activities including a copy of the actual text, photo or unauthorized and/or unknown phone number in question. These alerts are sent directly to the parent’s phone in real time. In addition, My Mobile Watchdog works on all approved networks and devices.

The cost is an initial $25 set up fee with a monthly fee of only $9.95 – a small price to pay to keep your kids safe.

Scammers are scamming lawyers (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 16th, 2010 @ 10:21 am by Linda 

This may be bittersweet, scamming lawyers, but lawyers are people too and don’t deserve to be duped by a criminal. Recently a large law firm in Denver, Colorado was almost a victim of a major scam.

Because of the bad economy and the sophistication of counterfeiting cashier’s checks, a scam artist tried to rip off this law firm. Last month the law firm received an email from a potential client living in Japan. The woman claimed that she was trying to collect money from her ex-husband who lives in Colorado. The email said that they were divorced in 2003 and that a “huge” settlement was still outstanding. She wanted to collect this amount from him. After six weeks of on-line correspondence, the scam artist sent a cashier’s check for $197,000 to the law firm claiming it was from her ex-husband’s part of the settlement. She asked the law firm to deposit the check, keep a retainer fee and wire her the difference.

Of course, the cashier’s check is phony and whatever real money she receives from the law firm is her easy money to keep. This scam is very smooth and very professional and unfortunately law firms nationwide are falling for this cyber-scam.

Even law firms are hungry for business during this poor economy. That’s why scammers are targeting law firms in hope of cashing in. Lessons learned from this scam is to never cash suspicious looking checks and never wire funds to unknown clients. Once again if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. The FBI has issued a nationwide alert regarding this type of law firm scam.

Gang members targeted and murdered young man (0)

Posted in Gangs April 15th, 2010 @ 2:47 pm by Linda 

In a recent story, a graduate student was murdered in Centennial, Colorado last fall by a juvenile gang member. A group of Denver Crips targeted the victim because they wanted to rob a “white” person and the victim looked like he might have money.

In reality, this young man, Andrew Graham, was a 23-year-old graduate student coming home late at night. He was looking for a place to live in Boulder, Colorado where he was handpicked by his professors to take part in a new master’s program for mathematical engineering at the University of Colorado. On November 6, 2009, he was gunned down in the early morning and his body was discovered in the front yard in a quiet neighborhood.

Five Crips members stalked him and a juvenile member of the gang shot him. This type of behavior was consistent with the gang members’ involvement in racially motivated violent attacks on white people in Lower Downtown Denver along the 16th Street Mall last summer. The gang was responsible for robbing, assaulting and attacking as many as 26 people during this time.

So far, the police have arrested 31 people including Crips gang members. The alleged murderer has been arrested and is in jail.

Caller ID “spoofing” scam to be illegal under legislation (0)

Posted in Identity Theft April 14th, 2010 @ 12:00 pm by Linda 

According to an Associated Press release, using false caller ID with the intent of tricking people into revealing personal information may become illegal under legislation that passed the House on Wednesday.

ID “spoofing” is a growing threat because of new technology making it cheap and easy to change the name and number that phone call recipients see on their caller ID. Here is how it works.

A scammer uses the caller ID of a bank as a way of tricking a person into revealing his Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers. Last year in New York City, police uncovered an identity theft ring that used caller ID spoofing to steal more than $15 million from 6,000 victims. In another case, a woman used the caller ID of a pharmacist to trick a romantic rival into taking a drug used to cause abortions.

The legislation would only outlaw the use of spoofing technology when the intent is to deceive and harm the recipient of the call. Legitimate uses of the technology, such as a domestic abuse shelter changing its number to protect an occupant of the shelter, would still be permitted.

The measure gives the Federal Communications Commission authority to develop regulations to enforce the new law. Violators could be subject to $10,000 in fines and up to a year in prison.

Another money manager guilty in a $190 million Ponzi scheme (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 13th, 2010 @ 12:04 pm by Linda 

Trevor Cook of Minneapolis pleaded guilty in a Ponzi scheme that stole $190 million from investors. This criminal choked back tears when he admitted in federal court in running an international Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 1,000 people.

Mr. Cook’s career started out as a sports bookie in college and then rose to a multi-million dollar commodities trader. As a commodities trader, he placed client money into a Swiss brokerage firm called Crown Forex SA. He continued to trade even when he learned late in 2008 that the firm was going bankrupt.

He had promised investors low double-digit annual returns with no risk to capital if they would invest their savings in a currency investment program that he claimed relied on Islamic banks to forgo interest in the deals. While Cook said he did invest some of the investors’ money in currencies, federal regulators contend that the rest of his pitch was a fiction.

Cook told the court that he lied to investors about a number of things. One claim was to have $4 billion in assets under management. He plead guilty to a single count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion. This carries a statutory maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release. This sentence is less than he might have faced under the advisory sentencing guidelines. These guidelines are based on the number of victims and amount of loss and could have called for 27 to 33 ¾ years in prison.

His guilty plea still doesn’t get him off the hook. If Cook fails to help the government locate and return assets for investors up to the day of sentencing, his plea bargain can be voided and he may face a longer time in jail.

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