Captain Vaswani’s Remarks on National Night Out and Crime Tips

CAPTAIN’S REMARKS:

August 4th was National Night Out and we had a great turnout at Youngblood Coleman Park!  Thank you to all the great volunteers, sponsors, and Officers here at Bayview Station.   It was a fun event and good time!   Our next community meeting will be same time/location as regular.  Check out photos from National Night Out below. I would like to bring to your attention the subject of random scams, door-to-door solicitors, suspicious contractors and on-line rental scams. I read reports in which people from all walks of life are targeted for scams. I hope to remind readers to be on the defensive when coming across potential scams that I listed in this newsletter.

The door to door scam is common in quieter residential neighborhoods with single family homes. Most of the sus- pects are either dropped off or drive to the target neighborhood and approach people on foot or go door-to-door. They can pose as utility workers, asking to gain access to a home, distract the occupant, then commit a burglary. In this case of a burglary distraction, a person will approach an occupant and ask them a question about another part of the house – such as kitchen/backyard. The occupant’s natural inclination is to take the ‘utility worker/landlord’s contractor’ to that location, while they are showing the main suspect the location in question, the second suspect is burglarizing the premise.  You should not let anyone into the house that you don’t know or have verified, by personally checking with the company they represent. Even if they supply a phone number, you should Google the number/company and reach out to a representative to independently verify. Ask of ID , ask of personal ID to match the Company ID. Contractors/workers in your home should also put you on the defensive. Most large companies hire independent delivery companies, who sometimes hire general temporary labor.

Anytime a stranger is in your home, you should make sure you don’t have personal information/mail sitting around. We have also had cases and I have personally investigated cases in which delivery or general labor for a contractor, unlocks windows and back doors while working in the home, only to come back at a later time to burglarize it Anytime someone comes to your door and offers services that you didn’t ask for, you should be extra careful. The scam usually is presented as a person that poses to be a contractor and tells you that he noticed something that needed to be fixed on your property. The person they offers a low price to fix it and asks for a deposit in cash to secure the materials; the suspect never returns to start the job. During rainy seasons, they will say they are an arborist, roofer, fencing contractor. If they are coming to you, without you seeking them out, it’s probably not a service you should engage in.

Telephone scams are also very popular these days. It’s a complete numbers game for these people and they are relentless. The suspect in this scam does extensive research on the victim and even has personal information, acquaintances, banking, which they generally steal from a credit history or large purchase application/loan application. They will then mandate that they are paid to correct a problem, it can be a credit issue that doesn’t exist, warrant that you don’t have, immigration/deportation status -etc. They will request payment either by Western Union or will ask you to get a disposable credit card/debit card and read the credit card number + verification code over the phone. Your best defense is to not talk to them, the longer you are on the phone, the higher your chances are of becoming a victim.

In this tight housing market, the Craigslist Rental Scam is when the suspect gets a potential renter to secure a property by wiring money to an account, getting cash, or asking for a Western Union wire. The suspects either target someone moving to the area, but not yet here, or will meet the renter represent themselves as the Realtor for an out of country owner. The property, photos, address are real and they either steal an agent’s identity or make it up. Some suspects will even figure out a way to gain entry into a vacant unit and show the property to the renter, then ask for 1st/last month’s rent, and security deposit either by wire or will take cash. They will sometimes even accept a check and cash it, then disappear. In addition to taking money, you should also be cautious about giving up too much person information up front. The scammer might send you a rental application to quickly to fill out, pressuring you by telling you the unit has a list of potential renters and will go fast. Slow down, think about the story, and verify it. Is the number they are giving you going to a specific company match the property management company? Ask questions and check the license in the DRE (SF Dept. or Real Estate), does it match the agent you are in communication with. Verify by public records that if person is representing themselves as the owner, is really are the owner and it matches with the person on title. Google the names, locations, and numbers to see what shows up. Craigslist is a great way to find a wonderful place, just do your homework before forking over money/information.

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