Dearborn police warn of scam artists

Dearborn Police Department warns residents of scam artists preying on senior citizens

DEARBORN, Mich. - The Dearborn Police Department is reminding residents to beware of scam artists who prey on senior citizens.

The scams include home invasions, burglaries, robberies, thefts, confidence games, solicitors, home companions and home repair fraud.

Dearborn police say scams are often committed by well organized, transient criminals who evade identification and arrest by operating in various cities and towns under many different aliases.

The Police Department released a list and scenarios of typical scams and tips to avoid such:

Typical scam:

One or two subjects make contact with a homeowner by ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door. They attempt to distract the homeowner and direct them toward the kitchen with deceptions such as:
• Faking an illness
• Posing as a utility worker
• Offering to complete home repairs
• Pretending to have a package to deliver
• Asking for paper or pen to leave a note for a neighbor
• Asking if the house is for sale
• Looking for a lost dog or cat

Once the homeowner is distracted, several unseen accomplices will enter the home and explore the house in search of jewelry or money. There is usually very little sign of ransacking since the actors go through the homeowner's items very carefully taking only certain valuables and putting everything else back in its place. After the suspects leave, the homeowner may not even realize that anything has been taken.

Quick tips checklist:

• Use caution when dealing with strangers – even those who wear authentic looking uniforms and may have a reason for entering the house.
• Be suspicious of strangers offering to share found money or lottery winnings with you.
• Request and verify identification before letting somebody in your house.
• Check a company's reputation with the Better Business Bureau before conducting business with them.
• Request a written estimate for repair work. Also, get estimates from other companies before making any type of commitment.
• Do not invest hastily. Do not rush into a bargain. If it appears too good to be true, it usually is.
• Ask that you wish to discuss a contract with a lawyer before signing any documents
• When in doubt, call the police!
• If the suspects leave before the police arrive, try to obtain a description of the person or vehicle involved. A license plate number helps the investigation a great deal.
• Scam artists are persuasive and persistent. They are very well trained in what they do and have managed to take away some people's entire life savings. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to remain cautious and become educated on how these types of groups operate.

If you believe that you have been a victim of a scam, please call the Dearborn Police Department at 313-943-2240. Report all suspicious activity to the Dearborn Police at 313-943-3030.

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