We’ve all heard the stories: good people, wanting to do the right thing and getting scammed. The police log lists fraud all too often.
Falling for a scam is easy. A phone call or an email might ask for private information. Perhaps you get word that a grandchild is in peril and needs cash, a con known as the grandparent scam.
If you are at all concerned that the request is not legitimate, “at the end of the day, the biggest advice we can give is don’t hesitate to call the police,” said Lt. Brian H. Goldman of the Concord Police Department. They can double check the callers and make sure the request is real, before any money or information changes hands.
“That’s what we’re here for. We’re happy to take those reports,” he said.
“People want to be trusting,” Goldman said, but some may hesitate to report a problem out of embarrassment. The sooner a possible scam is reported, the better the outcome.
If a victim of a money scam contacts their bank or credit card company, they are also told to contact the police.
“These kinds of crimes can be very, very much involved,” Goldman said. Investigating financial crimes might involve following a money trail to fake accounts or overseas accounts.
One of the Concord detectives has ties with the Secret Service to help follow the money trail. They may be able to stop the money transfers from going through, Goldman said.
Other scams ask for cash in hand. “It’s hard to get cash back,” Goldman warned.
In Concord, police detectives make rounds to the banks, asking them to notify the police if someone withdraws a lot of money. Banks will not always ask why a large withdrawal was made, he said.
A few times, the department has set up, hoping to catch someone while they are picking up money. Usually, they discover a courier, not the criminal.
For one crime, the department “was able to get a little bit lucky,” Goldman said. Working with another community, the police caught the alleged wrongdoer and piggy-backed the Concord crimes with the crimes in the other community.