Cybersecurity Incident & Important Consumer Information

Cyber-Security-2The Wichita Falls Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit is wanting to make sure everyone is aware of a recent cyber attack against one of the leading consumer credit reporting agency and steps that you can take to help ensure that your identity is protected.

According to Equifax, “on July 29, 2017, Equifax discovered that criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm which has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. Equifax also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continues to work with authorities. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.”

To see if you were possibly affected click here and follow the instructions.

For further information regarding this you can visit the Equifax information page by clicking here.

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WFPD Seeing Increase in Counterfeit Currency

downloadOver the past couple of weeks The Wichita Falls Police Department has seen an increase in counterfeit bills being reported in the local area. The majority of the bills are 100’s. At this time there are little leads on suspect(s).

A way to prevent from becoming a victim is to gain knowledge. You can do that by learning what security features are incorporated into each bill. The following link is a PDF describing security features on various bills: (https://www.secretservice.gov/data/KnowYourMoney.pdf).

You can also take a free online training course at https://www.uscurrency.gov/training-course and learn more about the money you handle.

If you have any information on this crime you can contact the WFPD at 940-761-7792 or if you want to remain anonymous you can call Crime Stoppers at 322-9888.

Ticket Scam Alert

scam-alertThe Wichita Falls Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit would like to remind people to be cautious when purchasing tickets to special events and recreational parks online.  The old adage, ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” is always a good reminder.

When purchasing tickets online from a third party and not an official vendor it is a case of “Buyer beware.”  The tickets may be fraudulent and you run the risk of the tickets not being accepted by the venue you are trying to enter.

If you do decide to purchase a ticket from a third party remember that a physical ticket is always better than a digital one.  Fraudulent digital tickets and codes can be easily reproduced.

Be careful in how you make any purchase from an unauthorized ticket seller.  Never give the seller access to your personal financial account information.  And, if you meet in person do so in a public place and bring a friend with you.

Beware of Rental Scammers

rental-scamsThe Wichita Falls Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unite has seen a rise in persons becoming victims of rental scams from various websites such as craigslist and HotPad. Though many times the website offers great deals some of those deals can be scammers trying to get your money before you find out.

How Rental Scams Work

Scammers know that finding the right apartment or vacation rental can be hard work, and a seemingly good deal is hard to pass up. They’ve been known to game some vacation rental websites and bulletin boards. The take-away: when you’re looking for a rental, its caveat renter — renter beware.

Being savvy when you’re in search of a rental is well worth the effort. Below are some tips to prevent or at least mitigate the chances of becoming a victim of a rental scam:

They tell you to wire money

This is the surest sign of a scam. There’s never a good reason to wire money to pay a security deposit, application fee, first month’s rent, or vacation rental fee. That’s true even if they send you a contract first. Wiring money is the same as sending cash — once you send it, you have no way to get it back.

They want a security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease

It’s never a good idea to send money to someone you’ve never met in person for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it’s for rent, and that it is what was advertised. In addition to setting up a meeting, do a search on the owner and listing. If you find the same ad listed under a different name, that’s a clue it may be a scam.

They say they’re out of the country

But they have a plan to get the keys into your hands. It might involve a lawyer or an “agent” working on their behalf. Some scammers even create fake keys. Don’t send money to them overseas. If you can’t meet in person, see the apartment, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking. What if the rental itself is overseas? Paying with a credit card or through a reputable vacation rental website with its own payment system are your safest bets. If it does not feel right investigate further before sending money or personal information.

If you feel like you have been a victim of theft please contact the Wichita Falls Police Department with all available information at (940)761-7792. On many occasions the Scammer is not from our jurisdiction but with enough information the case may forwarded to the correct location for investigation.

For more information go to: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0079-rental-listing-scams

Counterfeit Money Passed at Sonic, Suspect Arrested

torrence

Dakota Torrence

On 03-15-17, just after 6pm, WFPD Officers were dispatched to the Sonic on Loop 11 in reference to a forgery.  Upon arrival, employees advised that the customer in stall 6 had paid for his order with a counterfeit $50 bill. Officers made contact with the suspect who was identified as 18 year old Dakota Torrence. Investigation revealed that Torrence had, in fact, passed a counterfeit $50 bill and had another one sitting on the dashboard in front of him. Torrence was arrested for Forgery and transported to jail.

Protect Yourself Against Mail Theives


Be on the lookout for mail thieves! It is that time of year when checks are being received and mailed. Incidents of mail theft are on the rise, and here are some tips to protect yourself –

PROTECTING YOUR MAIL

1. Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.

2. Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.

3. If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.

4. If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.

5. Don’t send cash in the mail.

6. Tell your Post Office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.

7. Report all suspected mail theft to a Postal Inspector.

8. Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other’s mailboxes (as well as homes).

9. Consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.

If you see a mail thief at work, or if you believe your mail was stolen, call police immediately, then call Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 (press 3).

WFPD Arrest Man for Attempting to Pass Over $700,000.00 in Fraudulent Checks

ferkah-ahenkorah-yaw-20

Yaw Ferkah-Ahenkorah

On Thursday, February 9th, at approximately 3:45 pm officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department were dispatched to the 2700 block of Southwest Parkway to the Wells Fargo bank in reference to a possible forgery in progress.

Upon arrival officers spoke with a bank employee who stated that a subject, later identified as 20 year old Yaw Ferkah-Ahenkorah of Chickasha, OK, came into the bank and attempted to deposit three fraudulent checks totaling $283,000.00. Officers detained Ferkah-Ahenkorah.

Ferkah-Ahenkorah advised police that college friends from the University of Science and Arts gave him the checks to deposit.  He stated that he came to the bike trails in Wichita Falls when a friend told him to go deposit the checks at Wells Fargo.

After further investigating it was determined that Ferkah-Ahenkorah had earlier attempted to deposit two other fraudulent checks totaling $440,000.00 at the Wells Fargo bank located on Kell East.

Ferkah-Ahenkorah was arrested and transported to the Wichita County jail without incident where he was charged with Forgery.

WFPD Financial Crime Unit Warns of Another SCAM

scam-alert

There has been an increase in fake checks in our area being mailed to victims for various reasons from alleged Secret shopper programs to online fraudulent jobs posted via craigslist.

BEWARE – if someone sends you a check then ask you to wire money directly back to them or someone else after you deposit the check into your account IT IS A SCAM!

The FDIC requires banks to make funds available on cashier’s checks and money orders within 1-5 days, so the scammers are counting on you receiving the funds and going through with the wire transfer before the check or money order has actually cleared the bank. By the time you find out that the check is not legitimate, you are out the money you sent and will be held accountable for the bounced check by your financial institution.

If it sounds to good to be true then it is. Verify the validity of the check and be very cautious when depositing or cashing checks.

For more information visit the follwoing: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/beware-mystery-shopper-scams

WFPD Warns of IRS Scams

scam-alertFinancial scams are on the rise again. Recently there have been several reports of IRS scams demanding payment for alleged owed money. Scammers are calling unsuspecting victims and advising them they have a warrant for their arrest and/or the police are watching their residence planning to make an arrest if they do not pay. This is a scam that targets the elderly and/or unknowing.

Thousands of Dollars are lost each year to IRS Scammers please keep a look out for these false claims. Check on Family members and friends who you think could fall victim and warn them of the dangers of Scammers. Spread the word and protect one another from would be scammers.

If you have questions or to file a claim you can contact the IRS or visit:

https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-urges-public-to-stay-alert-for-scam-phone-calls

Do not forget you can sign up for the latest scam alerts at:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts

Beware income tax scams

scam-alertIt’s that time of year again and tax time is fast approaching, with that it mind the scammers will be out in full force attempting to steal your money and identity.   Scammers  will  try  to convince you to pay them money for owed taxes or requesting payment (money up front) for a tax return.  They may even ask for personal information to “verify” your identity so they can complete their offer to help.  Like before. scammers are going to use threats such as warrants, and the police are coming to get you, or watching your house. These are all false and should be reported to the police and  IRS as soon as possible.