Safety advisories

Police warn of IRS scam-related incidents
The Dearborn Police Department has seen a drastic increase in fraudulent IRS-related incidents and would like to caution residents who may be purchasing a Green Dot, or other prepaid debit card, under threat of prosecution for tax issues.

Multiple incidents have been reported in which victims
received phone calls from individuals claiming to be local law enforcement officers or agents with the IRS.

In each case, the caller claimed that the victim was delinquent in his or her tax payment and instructed the victim to purchase pre-paid debit cards in order to repay the taxes, threatening that the victim would be arrested if he or she failed to comply.

During each of the incidents, the callers have been concealing their phone numbers in order to give the appearance that the phone calls are originating from law enforcement or the IRS.

Police advise that neither the IRS, nor any law enforcement agency, will ever request payment of any kind via telephone. If you receive any suspicious calls instructing you to provide money or personal information over the telephone, you are encouraged to obtain a call back number and contact your local police department in order to verify the legitimacy of the caller.

If you believe that you have been a victim of a similar scam, you are encouraged to contact your local law enforcement agency or the IRS in order to report the incident.

Larcenies from vehicles reported
The Dearborn Police Department has received reports of items being stolen from parked vehicles. Residents are asked to take steps to avoid becoming a victim of this crime of opportunity.

Department officials said residents should:
• Remember to keep your vehicle locked and windows rolled up even if the vehicle is parked in your driveway or in front of your home.

• Park your vehicle in your garage or in your driveway
whenever possible.

• Do not leave valuables (GPS Units, MP3 Players, laptops, money, etc.) visible in your vehicle.

• Never leave any personal information in your vehicle such as the vehicle title, registration,
or insurance.

• Residents should avoid leaving their vehicles running unattended even for a short period.

• Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
Dearborn residents can report all suspicious activity anonymously by calling 313-943-3030.

Be aware of scam artists
“Scam artists” are criminals that often prey on senior citizens because these citizens are trusting, living alone, or have large sums of money available to them.

These types of scams may include home invasions, burglaries, robberies, thefts, confidence games, door-to-door, solicitors, home companion scams, or home repair frauds.

Many scams are often committed by well organized, transient criminals who evade identification and arrest by operating in various cities and towns under many different aliases. They often leave town before a crime has been discovered or reported.

One or two people make contact with a homeowner by ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door. They attempt to distract the homeowner and direct them toward the kitchen with deceptions such as:
• Faking an illness

• Posing as a utility worker

• Offering to complete home repairs

• Pretending to have a package to deliver

• Asking for paper or pen to leave a note for a neighbor

• Asking if the house is for sale

• Looking for a lost dog or cat

Once the homeowner is distracted, several unseen accomplices will enter the home and explore the house in search of jewelry or money. There is usually very little sign of ransacking since the accomplices go through the homeowner’s items very carefully taking only certain valuables and putting everything else back in its place.

After the suspects leave, the homeowner may not even realize that anything has been taken.

Another common scam occurs when a homeowner is approached
by one or more people and offers to conduct home repairs such as a new roof, cement repairs, at a very low cost.

The con-artist will then convince the homeowner to pay for all or part of the repair up front in cash. Once the homeowner gives the money to the con-artist, the con-artist leaves the area and never returns to complete the home repairs.

• Use caution when dealing with strangers – even those who wear authentic looking uniforms and may have a reason for entering the house.

• Be suspicious of strangers offering to share found money or lottery winnings with you.

• Request and verify identification before letting somebody in your house.

• Check a company’s reputation with the Better Business
Bureau before conducting business with them.

• Request a written estimate for repair work. Also, get estimates from other companies before making any type of commitment.

• Do not invest hastily. Do not rush into a bargain. If it appears too good to be true, it usually is.

• Ask that you wish to discuss a contract with a lawyer before signing any documents.

• When in doubt, call the police.

• If the suspects leave before the police arrive, try to obtain a description of the person or vehicle involved. A license plate number helps the investigation a great deal.

• Scam artists are persuasive and persistent. They are very well trained in what they do and have managed to take away some people’s entire life savings. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to remain cautious and become educated on how these types of groups operate.

If Dearborn residents believe that they have been victims of a scams, they are asked to call the Dearborn Police Department at 313-943-2240. They also are asked to report all suspicious activity to the Dearborn Police at 313-943-3030.