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Ballwin Police Department
Friday August 14th, 2009 :: 03:12 p.m. CDT


The Ballwin Police Department would like to warn residents about financial scams.

The Ballwin Police Department would like to warn residents about recent e-mail and letter scams requesting assistance in transferring large amounts of money out of foreign countries. These scams may appear in many different forms, but the offer is always too good to be true.

Victims usually receive an e-mail, or a letter, from someone posing as an intermediary who needs assistance with a money transfer. Perpetrators usually pose as government officials or wealthy land owners. The victim is offered fast cash if they send the perpetrator their bank account routing number, social security number and/or date of birth. The scam artists use this information to clear out a victim’s bank account and to establish lines of credit in the victim’s name. Victims are also contacted and told to wire money to cover taxes or government bribes. Occasionally, the perpetrator sends the victim a check with the letter. The scam artist instructs the victim to cash the check and to wire a portion of the money to a third person. The letter instructs the victim to keep the remainder of the money. The counterfeit check never clears the bank and the victim loses the money that was wired to the scam artist.

The best defense against these scams is to delete the e-mail or throw away the letter.

To help prevent identity theft:
•Never give out identifying information in response to unsolicited offers by phone, mail, internet, or in person unless you initiated the contact.
•Regularly review financial and credit card statements for unauthorized activity.
•If you know someone who may have been the victim of a scam, encourage them to contact their local police department as soon as possible.
•Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation with a money transfer.

Ballwin Police Department
300 Park Dr
Ballwin, MO 63011

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 636-227-9636

John Bergfeld
Community Affairs / Professional Standards

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