From: Culver City Police Department <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Community Message: Warning of Delivery Scams / Identity Theft
Date: November 12, 2015 at 11:44:39 AM PST
The Culver City Police Department would like to warn you about the latest credit card scam occurring across the country.
Here’s how it works:
You receive a call from a “courier service” asking you if you are going to be home so they can deliver a package that requires a signature. This sounds legitimate to you so you provide an honest answer. Based on your information, the “delivery person” arrives at your home (or business) and brings you a basket of flowers or wine even though you may not know why you are receiving it or from who. If you ask who sent the item, the “delivery person” will inform you that there is no card or sender information only the package. This sounds possible to you so you accept the package.
The “delivery person” will then explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 “delivery/ verification charge,” providing proof that the item had actually been delivered to an adult of legal drinking age, and not just left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone, especially a minor. This sounds legitimate to you. If you offer to pay cash, the “delivery person” will tell you that the delivery company requires the payment to be by credit or debit card only, so that everything is properly accounted for, and that there would be a legal record of the transaction. You may also be told that paying by a debit/credit card avoids the couriers from having to carry cash, making them less likely targets for robbery. This sounds legitimate to you so you provide your credit/debit card to the delivery person.
When you provide your credit/debit card, the “delivery person” you are then asked to swipe your card into a small mobile card machine. It has a small screen and keypad where you enter the card’s PIN and security number. A receipt is printed out and given to you as a copy of the transaction.
The experience feels legitimate to you and you now have the gift that you weren’t expecting. Within a few days, you learn that someone has emptied your bank account or charged your credit card for hundreds and in some instances, thousands of dollars. This is not a good experience and you are now the victim of a credit card scam.
Although you can notify the bank of the crime and replace your debit/credit card, you may still be out money in the end.
Here are a few ideas on how to avoid this from happening to you:
• Be wary of accepting any “surprise gift or package,” which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift or package.
• Never accept anything if you do not personally know who sent it or there is no proper identification of who the sender is.
• Above all else, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction!
For additional crime prevention information, please contact Lieutenant Sam Agaiby at 310) 253-6251.