- Monday August 23rd, 2010 :: 03:28 p.m. EDT
Excellent article about a "new" scam...
I recently received information about this scam from the National Crime Prevention Council. Although we haven't seen this in our area, you'd be surprised how quickly these type scams travel. Please read...
Beware of that `neighbor' who isn't
BY CARMEN GONZALEZ CALDWELL
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
This week I am going to share with you two actual incidents, shared with me by Crime Watch participants in nice neighborhoods, to show you that anyone can be taken.
This came in an e-mail from a Crime Watcher in the Morningside area:
Last night our highly trained watchdog started barking repeatedly at 3:30 a.m. When I went to the window, I saw a familiar-looking man -- whom, it turns out, I did not know -- wearing a gray tank top standing there. I could see his black car parked in our driveway. I opened the window and he told me his story of woe:
``Hi there. I live four houses down from you. I got in my car to drive to work and I saw that I didn't have enough gas to get to work and my girlfriend took my ATM card. I have to be at work in an hour and I have nowhere else to turn. I saw your light on and thought I'd ask you to help a neighbor.''
I asked him which house he lives at and he said 520 and that it was his parents' home. He held up two movie tickets (worth $20) as collateral. He looked familiar. I was half asleep. I went to get him $10. That's when the Morningside Directory came to mind. Not only is the printing and binding flawless, but it has a lot of useful information -- like that there's no 520 on my block!
By the time I went to the window, my ``neighbor'' had left. I called the police nonemergency number and Officer Johnson showed up pronto. I told him the story, which he fast-tracked to another officer who shortly pulled up alongside him: ``male, mid to late 30s, light brown hair, driving older black Volkswagen Jetta, begging for money.'' The officer said he would check the neighborhood for this man. He doubted he had a gun, saying, ``If he had a gun, you would have known it.''
I received a similar story from a Crime Watch participant in North Miami. He wanted to inform me that along Northeast Second Avenue between 125th and 135th streets, a scam has penetrated their area. Four people were taken by a man who claimed he was a neighbor, got locked out of his house and needed a ride to get a key from the wife. A good neighbor took him to a location, the wife was not there. He then asked for $20 for a locksmith. The caller told me that he had done this scam to several neighbors, all of whom thought they were doing a good thing.
Folks, never open your door to anyone you don't recognize. Instead, tell them, ``I'm not opening the door, but I am calling the police so they can come and help you.''
I share this with you because these people were lucky in not being physically harmed. Please, don't give anyone a ride or open your door to anyone. This is why neighborhood watches are so important, because you REALLY learn who your neighbors are.
Upper Macungie Township Police Department
37 Grim Road
Breinigsville, PA 18031
Criminal Investigations/ Crime Prevention