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posted: 5/27/2014 3:44 PM

Police warn about new scams, ruse burglaries

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Submitted by Buffalo Grove Police Department

Spring is here and summer is not far behind, along with the change of seasons usually comes a fresh set of scams.

Every year around this time the area seems to be infiltrated with home improvement and landscape contractors. There are many legitimate companies out there, but there are always companies or individuals who are just trying to take advantage of people.

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The Buffalo Grove Police Department is warning residents to be on guard against "ruse" burglaries and other suspicious situations which may make your car or home an easy target. A ruse burglary is a crime in which someone distracts the homeowner while a second person enters the home and looks for things to steal. Ruse burglaries are a favorite method of operation for residential burglars and often target senior citizens.

Avoiding ruse burglaries:

• Never let a door-to-door sales or repair person inspect any part of your property. Ask for identification and phone their office to verify who they are.

• Don't walk outside your home to have a solicitor "point out" repairs on you house. This is when an accomplice will enter your home to steal.

• Never let persons inside your home -- even with you present.

• Ruse burglars will often claim that they are already doing work for a neighbor and will give you a good deal.

• Often scammers will do their homework and will know your name or your neighbor's names to try to get you to convince you that they are legitimate.

• Don't fall for fake referrals.

Please remember that solicitors are required to have a permit issued by the village of Buffalo Grove. Do not open your door and allow anyone into your home that you did not call or invite. Always verify who they are or call 911, so that an officer can respond and check on the individual.

There has also been a recent flood of phone scams in our area and throughout the country. A common one that occurs around tax season is a subject will call and claim to be with the IRS. They will advise that there was an error in your taxes, and you need to get a prepaid credit card immediately to avoid penalties or jail.

Another popular phone scam is when an unknown caller tells you that you won a prize but you just have to pay for the taxes prior to receiving the prize. In addition, be weary if you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be a family member asking for money to be sent to them. Most often they will say that they are having car problems or are in jail. The caller will typically instruct you to purchase prepaid credit cards, and call them back with the prepaid cards access code.

No one from any legitimate agency would ever ask you to purchase and pay with prepaid credit card's. If you are ever requested to pay with one, the red flags should pop up and you should disconnect immediately. Once the cards information is given to a scammer there is NO getting the money back or canceling the card, the money is gone.

The best rule of thumb:

If you did not initiate the contact, don't give them any information over the phone, online or let them into your home.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to the Crime Prevention Unit at the Buffalo Grove Police Department, (847) 459-2560.

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