2/13/2013 11:21:00 AM Watch out for scams such as Facebook theft, grandparent plea
Lisa Irish Special to the BBN
Local law enforcement agencies urge people to beware of recent frauds involving money stolen through Facebook accounts, gym memberships, and the grandparent scam.
On Sunday, Feb. 3, a Prescott woman told an officer that an unknown suspect hacked into her Facebook account and took $599 from her bank account in three separate transactions in the past three days, according to a police report.
The woman said Facebook notified her in November that someone had tried to access her account from Indonesia so she changed her password, and this happened several more times, according to the police report.
When the officer asked how this happened, the woman said she had saved her checking account number on her Facebook account for when she buys game credits, according to the police report.
The woman told the officer she does not know who may have taken the money from her account, and that after notifying her bank, she filed a claim against the transactions and has since removed the save feature from her Facebook account, according to the police report.
Since many people join gyms after the New Year, the Better Business Bureau advises consumers to carefully consider the contract terms and fitness center benefits.
"With the excitement of getting fit and joining a health club, consumers sometimes sign a contract before reading it," said Matthew Fehling, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau.
In 2012, the Better Business Bureau serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona received 125 complaints about health clubs and fitness centers.
"It is not until a problem occurs or verbal promises are not kept that consumers look at the signed document, only to find out that what they want is not part of the deal," Fehling said
Before joining a fitness center, get approval from your doctor, ask friends and relatives for their experiences with different clubs, visit the club at the time of day you're considering using it, consider your budget and carefully review the contract before signing it, said Mary Hawkes with the Arizona Better Business Bureau.
Despite ongoing efforts to warn senior citizens about the grandparent scam, many older adults are falling victim to scammers posing as family members in trouble in need of cash, said Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.
"Social networking sites are the most likely source for suspects to gain knowledge of family members which lends believability when conversing with victims," D'Evelyn said. "Please share this information with seniors in your family or those under your care."
In late January, YCSO deputies met with a Prescott woman who said she had received a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson who said he was arrested
while on spring break and needed bail money so she wired about $3,000 to an address in
Trinidad and Tobago, D'Evelyn said.
The woman also gave the suspect the PIN code for the transaction allowing the suspect to access the money from anywhere in the world, D'Evelyn said.
The woman later learned her grandson was all right, and deputies had her place a fraud alert on her credit report immediately, D'Evelyn said.