February 26, 2013 Crime Alert
Residential Scams on the Rise
The Upper Merion Township Police Department
has received information that area residents are again being targeted by several scams.
Overseas Lottery Scam
The first scam is an overseas lottery scam, where you are informed (by mail or telephone) that you have won an out-of-country lottery or sweepstakes. However, in order to collect your prize you must first pay handling costs or taxes. These costs are usually requested to be paid via Western Union or Money Gram and may be destined to another country. These scams may also include an authentic-looking check that has been enclosed to help pay for a fake clearance fee or tax. When you attempt to cash the check it is found to be counterfeit. Any money that you have sent is lost forever.
Trust your instincts! Two good rules of thumb to remember are: you should never have to pay money to collect money and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Arrested / Injured Grandchild Scam
Another scam that is becoming more frequent is the arrested / injured grandchild scam. The caller identifies himself/herself as your grandchild stating that they either have been arrested or are in a hospital in Canada. The caller requests that a Money Gram" be sent to them as they need it to post bail or to pay a hospital bill. The caller may also ask you to not contact their parents regarding this situation as they are either embarrassed or don't want to alarm them. Again, if any money is sent it will probably be lost. So please check into the situation before sending any money.
Driveway Sealing Scams
Residents also need to be aware that driveway sealing scams are also increasing. A contractor will usually come to their home stating that they just did job nearby, they have material left over, and can seal the homeowner's driveway for a reduced price. If the homeowner accepts this offer the contractor will use a substandard product that initially makes it appear as if the job was done correctly, but either the product never dries or it washes away with the first rainfall. These contractors are not properly registered and travel from town to town, so getting your money back or having this issue resolved is almost impossible.
Additional Information / Reporting Tips
If you have any questions regarding these scams, please feel free to contact Officer Harry M. Nuskey of the Community Response Unit at 610-205-8530. If any resident has information regarding the scams, please contact the Upper Merion Police Criminal Investigations Division as soon as possible at 610-265-3232.