Yet another telephone scam has hit the Gila Valley.
This newest con sees the victim receiving a phone call telling him an active arrest warrant has been issued for him; however, he can avoid arrest if he pays his fine over the phone.
A couple of things . . .
First, law enforcement has never rung up a suspect for payment of fines. Police, as a rule, don’t like to tip off suspects who will be arrested.
“Hi, Mr. Burglar? This is the police. We’ll be by to arrest you tomorrow, sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. What? Sorry, no, we really can’t narrow that window down; we have a number of arrests to perform before yours, and we never know how long each will take.”
Second, haven’t we all figured out yet that anyone asking for money over the phone or via e-mail is a scammer? It’s not like this is some new phenomenon — we were dealing with “princes” from Nigeria back in the late 1990s, after all.
“Hi there, your son Bobby won the lottery and he just need you to wire $500 so he can file for his prize. Oh, you don’t have a son named Bobby; you have a daughter named Gertrude? That’s what we mean. Gertrude. And our number shows a Cayman Islands area code? That’s weird since we’re right here in Schenectady . . . I mean Phoenix. Great! Make it out to Prince M’Buku.”
Finally, how many of us actually believe there might be a warrant for our arrest? The overwhelming majority of us (especially those reading this in the newspaper) are law-abiding people whose only run-in with the law is when we see an officer helping coach her child’s soccer team or when we see him in line in the grocery store.
We understand these scams are targeting the elderly, with the goal of finding a senior who’s either dealing with early onset of dementia or is hard of hearing. So it’s incumbent on us to keep an eye out for these dirtbags interacting with our parents and grandparents.
And speaking of Mom and Dad, we understand you are very proud people — you raised a family of good men and women. You worked hard, and some of you even owned your own businesses, which made you responsible for the livelihoods of even more people. However . . .
There is no shame in asking your children for help when it comes to keeping an eye on your finances, especially as you grow older. Just like you can’t throw a baseball as hard as you did when you were 18, there’s a chance older you could make the wrong decision on an expenditure or two, so why not ask the kids to double-check your ledger?
The biggest thing that would help would be if the FCC actually cracked down on telephone scammers and spoofed calls. But that would actually mean the chairman of the FCC cared more about consumers than in ensuring telecom giants keep raking in record profits — so don’t hold your breath on that one.
That means it’s up to us . . . all of us. We have to watch out for one another, making sure our most vulnerable don’t lose everything to criminals who care nothing about the people they harm.
If a recent contact appears suspicious, don’t hesitate — call the police.