Landers offered up information about scams that are going on in
the community either by telephone, internet, mail or in person such
as the home repair frauds.
He began by explaining that he was a Logan County native, a member
of the Landers Trash Service family. He got involved with criminal
investigation in the military, and in the 90’s began his career with
local law enforcement. He has spent the last 15 years as a criminal
investigator dealing primarily with felony cases in Logan County.
He began by talking about telemarketers and advised guests to look
at the caller id before taking a call. He said numbers listed as
“unknown” or from another state were more often than not
telemarketers who will try to get your money in some way. He
mentioned the National Do Not Call program and suggested that guests
call the number; 888-382-1222 and register for the Do Not Call list.
Registration can also be accomplished by going online to
sure to note this web address ends as .gov
and not .com)
Throughout the meeting, guests were interactive with Landers,
asking questions and making comments about their personal
experiences. The first such comment was does the do not call list
really work. Landers said he believed it was somewhat effective. He
said he had registered as an experiment, and asked another person to
register as well. He said the result was he has not received any
calls since, but the person he asked to register is still getting
calls. He concluded that he can’t say it is one-hundred percent
effective, but it could be helpful.
Landers said one of the biggest scams going on now is the IRS scam.
Someone will call and say that the person receiving the call owes
the IRS money and is about to be arrested or prosecuted. The quick
relief is to purchase money on a Green Dot card and pay the “IRS.”
Landers stressed this is not the IRS. He said the IRS will never
call someone and seek payment over the phone and will not tell you
to wire money to them. Landers said that there had been two reports
to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office regarding the IRS scam.
Landers also explained phone number spoofing. On caller ID’s the
number will show up as being someone known to the recipient or some
local business or government office. Landers said the caller will
seek out personal information such as social security numbers or
credit card information. He said that local government offices are
not going to ask for that kind of information over the phone. He
also advised guests that the best solution is to end the call, and
then call the local person or entity to verify that they are seeking
information from you.
Landers moved on to the most common scam,
the Grandparent Scam.
[to top of second
He said it happens all the time. Someone will call, and when the phone is
answered they will say something to the effect of “Grandma, do you know who this
is?” Landers said this person has just called you grandma. You don’t want to
admit that you don’t recognize the voice, so you say, “yes.”
"Hey Grandma, do you know who this is? Nine times out of ten you don’t want to
feel like you don’t know the sound of your own grandchild’s voice, so you’re
going to (think) that sounds like Mark, ‘Well yes Mark, how are you’? They now
have all they need to play on your heart strings.”
From this point it will be “Grandma, I got in trouble, I need money.” The caller
will ask that grandma go get a Green Dot card and will give them the card number
over the phone. Landers said the Green Dot can be cashed anywhere in the country
with only the numbers on the card. Those cashing the card do not have to have
physical possession of the card to use it.
Landers said the best defense is to call another family member and find out if
grandson Mark is in trouble. Many times, the caller will say they are traveling
out of state, and in some cases that part of the story will be correct. But if
the grandson is in trouble, other family members should know that, or at least
be able to contact the grandson and make sure he is alright.
A variation of this scam is that the call comes from someone claiming to be from
a sheriff’s office or other law enforcement seeking money on behalf of the kid.
Landers said this had happened locally; the grandparent wired the first cash
request, but when the official person called again seeking more money, they
began to question it. It turned out that the grandson was in the state that was
claimed on the phone, but he was in no trouble.
A member of the audience asked if the grandparent got their money back. Landers
said they did not. The money goes to a wide variety of locations and more than
likely not even to the same state where the call originated. In addition, the
locations of where that money goes are constantly changing.
A member of the audience asked how the caller knows the grandson is out of
state. Landers said that the criminals who do this are very intelligent, well
connected through the internet and know how to search things out. The scammers
have access to all types of information. Something as innocent as the grandson
posting a picture of himself on social media while on a trip can get the ball
rolling for a scam artist.
Another scam that affects senior citizens is the Medicare adjuster calling and
saying the information on file is incomplete, they need a social security
number. Landers stressed to just not do this. Part of the problem for all
victims is that these people are professional talkers. They know how to persuade
the victim to comply, so everyone needs to be alert and be firm that they are
not going to give out personal information on the phone.
An audience member shared another scam going around is someone will call from
your telephone service provider and say there is an issue with the phone. They
ask the victim to punch in their own phone number to help solve the problem. The
caller then has control over the phone account and uses it to make calls
themselves. Landers said that is a prime example of how spoofing works. Now that
the caller has that number, he or she will use the number to deceive other call
recipients, and make it all the more difficult for law enforcement to track them
After this discussion had concluded, Landers moved on to discuss internet
dangers, mail fraud, and home repair fraud. Kauggold and Wright also contributed
to the meeting. Those discussions will be covered in Lincoln Daily News starting