Scams were the focus for Clayton and fellow detective Randy Gore during a presentation to the civic group.
“The Internet has opened up knowledge of your accounts. If you do banking online or do credit cards online you’re open to them,” Clayton said.
Both detectives said it seems as though the elderly are most frequent victims of scams because they grew up in a generation where people trusted one another.
A primary problem for law enforcement in connection with a large percentage of modern scams is that they don’t originate from within the U.S.
Clayton encouraged club members to check their bank statements and credit card statements. He related a story about one scam that involved tapping into someone’s phone bills, adding a $15 charge to phone bills to the point the scammers had collected close to $40 million before it was stopped.
Gore said there are many scams that police see on a regular basis. “There’s not really a lot of new scams, it’s just the old scams being rehashed,” Gore said.
The work-at-home scam has been run across several different formats.
“Almost always, they want money up front to buy your training material, a laptop computer, your software, whatever it is you might need,” Gore said. “I don’t think anybody wants to admit they’ve been scammed so they just continue to give money.”
Gore said that in written correspondence, there are a typically lot of spelling, grammatical errors and very poor sentence structure. A lot of times scammers like to use double first names. “Like John Lee, or Mary James, I don’t know why that is.” Gore said.
Both detectives urged the audience to never give our personal information. They also said to never get involved in any kind of activity that involves sending money up front. “If you didn’t buy a lottery ticket, chances are you didn’t win it,” Clayton said.
Gore pointed a finger specifically at Jamaica and Nigeria as countries where a lot of the scamming activity originates and said that the bad guys are almost untouchable by U.S. investigators.