Crimewatch with Walt Candelari
IT’S AMAZING how, with the right set of circumstances, you can convince almost anyone that something you are promoting just has to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Bob and Betty, friends of mine, once took a cruise to Mexico and, during one
of the tours of Mayan ruins, the guide told them of the tremendous accomplishments of the Mayan people and of their many inventions.
Betty took it all in and was appropriately amazed. Bob shook his head at some of the things the guide told them but was still impressed.
Not long after the trip, I took a call from Betty, who was shopping at the Galleria mall in Houston. She said she was looking for a special present for Bob but, having scoured the entire mall, had not been successful and wanted to know if I could help.
Her quest? The guide had told them that among the many accomplishments
of the Mayan people was the invention of underwear. Betty had been everywhere looking for the Mayan underwear the guide had called “Fruit of Tulum”.
I broke the bad news to her, which also seemed
to explain the reaction every sales person had shown when she asked them.
I know – you wonder how I ever sleep at night.
Anyway, an organization called National Consumers League notes that, with the tremendous surge of social media, increasing numbers of people are losing their funds to the “flip your funds and I’ll share my secret for amazing wealth” scams. Slick packaging of the presentation and bogus testimonials are pulling in people
in increasing numbers.
We try to teach students that what you see in the vast electronic world is not necessarily what is really there, yet we fall for the same tricks and ploys.
The Better Business Bureau once issued an alert about a scam that involves Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The scam wants us to make money quickly and legally. All you have to do is secure a prepaid debit card for $100 or more and share the card number and its associated PIN code with the investor – he will do the rest.
And he will and does … separate you from your funds! Then he blocks you from any further contact. Sweet!
Another friend lost his money to this scam even after he had done his research because he thought he was dealing with a legitimate individual who had legitimate testimonials.
Before contacting anyone trying unsolicited to sell you something via the internet, search their username and phone number to see if anyone has posted complaints. Consider a prepaid debit card to be like cash and know that, once you give away your account information, the money
is as good as gone; Have you heard of or fallen prey to the scam that asks you to wire money
to help a relative or friend who is in some kind of trouble?
In reality, your friend or loved one is at home relaxing.
The same thing might happen if you receive a“testimonial” from a friend that is totally bogus.
Yes, as always, if it sounds to good to be true … Need more information? Go online to bbb.org/scamstopper.
Remember:Think, plan and execute crime-
prevention design. Don’t be a crime victim.
Walt Candelari is a crime-prevention specialist and community-policing officer with Dickinson police department.