Your sales or repair person may be selling you a scheme: 5 true almost crime stories

Have you ever noticed that once you start talking to someone about the last time someone tried to “pull the wool over your eyes” that they too have a story to share about an attempt to steal their credit card, break into their home or hack into their computer?

There’s no place like home to get hit up by a scam artist and these true crime stories were stopped in their tracks by quick thinking.

  • Ann received a telephone call from (insert alleged security company name here) asking her what sort of security system she has.  Ann replied I promptly told her  “Do you really think I’m stupid enough to answer such a question from a person that randomly calls me?”  She replied that “It is actually surprising at how many did answer that question.”  Ann said, “Well since you already have my address and telephone number why don’t you go ahead and mail me some information and I’ll look it over.”  She never received any.
  • Beth received a telephone call that said that they were with a computer repair service company and had been contracted to help people locate and clear viruses off of their computers.  Could he schedule a time to come in and help her?  She said, “I know how to run a scan myself, but you don’t seem to know how to run a scam.  I’ll call my own tech support office should I need help. I have the 1-800 number right here. “
  • “Hello, oh hello Sam.  I was just calling from (insert company name here) and we were conducting a $100 Walmart Gift Card giveaway and you are the winner!  I don’t remember entering any contest at Walmart.  Oh, you didn’t your name was chosen randomly when you use your credit card.  Now all I need you to do is give me your credit card number to pay for shipping and your $100 Walmart Gift card is on it’s way to you! Couldn’t you use $100?”  (Hey this one is pretty good aren’t they?)

Sam’s reply, “Oh there is no way I’m giving you my credit card number to charge $1.95.  If your company can’t afford the shipping on a prize then they shouldn’t even be awarding them.”  Not to mention the fact that Sam doesn’t even use his credit card – so there is no way it was a contest as Walmart – he uses cash only.

  • “Hello, I’m calling you from Comcast.  I was wondering if you would like to add the full HBO package to your system for only $2.01 a month?”  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  It’s only $2 you would spend more than that on renting or going to the movies.  Until, “If you just give me your credit card number I’ll get you set up.”  Oh yeah, you’ll be set up alright.  Cable companies don’t use your credit card to make service charges too.
  • A man pulls up outside Karen’s home and parks.  He gets out and starts walking and looking around the house.  She confronts him, “I’m sorry what are you doing?”  His response, “I’m the dryer repair man, I’m looking for your vent.  Can I come in and take a look at the problem?”  ‘There is no problem and I didn’t call for a repair.”  “What isn’t this 109 xxxx?”  he asks.  “Nope it’s not and there is no 109 house number on this street.”
Now, maybe just maybe he was a repairman, but it was  car, not a truck or a van and it was not labeled.  He wasn’t wearing a uniform, carrying any tools and didn’t even have some sort of logo on his shirt.  Be sure to check the facts.
One word of warning, you may not want to approach them directly, as you never know who you may encounter.  It’s best to note make and model of car and to call the police about a suspicious person on your property. In this case, Karen found out that the police got more than one phone call from people in her neighborhood, which confirms her suspicions that they were there to “case” the place.
Most of these attempts to steal from you, whether it’s your credit card information or stuff inside your house all start with one simple and almost easily offer of help or prizes.  Because the amounts mentioned are so low, many people would feel that they are legitimate since they tend to think of thinks like the Nigerian lotto scam with millions of dollars involved.  But don’t let the amounts fool you, because giving our information in these types of instances can add up to costing you more than you can afford.