Payday loans, overdue utility bills, computer viruses and “grandchildren in trouble” are just some of the subjects con artists are successfully using to scam naive or simply too-trusting Naperville residents out of their money.
Naperville police Sgt. Bill Davis said his department “continues to receive a significant number of complaints from residents who have been the victims of phone and email scams.”
The con artists making such calls and sending such email “may claim to represent various government agencies, Commonwealth Edison, payday loans or Dish Network, and assert that the victims owe back taxes or have some other non-existent financial obligation,” Davis said in a release.
“Many of these calls threaten the victim with arrest, large fines, disconnection of services and, in some instances, revocation of immigration status and deportation, if the victim does not provide either a credit card number or other banking information to immediately settle the debt.”
Naperville municipal officials in recent weeks have been “made aware of customers receiving utility account ‘past due’ phone calls from a phone number in Area Code 818,” Davis said.
“These calls are not from the city. Calls from the city regarding utility accounts will show up on caller IDs as ‘City of Naperville,’ and almost always show the number 630-420-6059.” Davis said Naperville “does not make any calls from an 800 number requesting payments for utility services.”
Additionally, senior citizens have found themselves the targets of so-called “grandchild scams,” Davis said.
“In these scams, the victim receives a phone call from a ‘grandchild’ who claims to have been arrested, and requests the victim to forward funds, usually via a money transfer company, to pay for bail and/or their fine,” Davis said. “Residents should always confirm the validity of any such information with family members, prior to complying with the requests made by the caller.”
In another, residents have been called “by individuals claiming to be representatives of Microsoft or other computer-related firms, claiming to have remotely scanned the victim’s computer,” Davis said.
“The caller claims to have identified viruses on the victim’s computer and offers to sell the victim software and/or a monitoring program.”
Recipients of such phone calls or emails “should never provide the caller with any personal or banking information,” Davis said. Those who believe they have been targeted by con artists can call Naperville police, at 630-420-6666.