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

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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

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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.

Avoid being a victim of financial crimes.

 

financial-crimesMany victims leave checkbooks, credit cards and various forms of ID in their vehicles. Burglars are on high alert for that information because they know it will bring a good price on the market. Information the vehicle burglar obtains may not be used by him or her but will be traded for narcotics, cash or other valuable goods. The person receiving the items will then use it to commit various types of Financial Crime such as opening credit cards, lines of fast cash credit, bank loans, etc.  So remember, if you have a shredder use it. If you have  shredding service use it.  Avoid disposing of old check books, credit cards, ID’s etc.  in dumpsters.  The dedicated criminal is continuously looking  to obtain personal information for personal gain.

 

WFPD Detective Recognized as City’s Employee of the Month

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Detective Jason Jones

Detective Jason Jones has been selected as the Wichita Falls City’s Employee of the Month for January 2017. Jason was recognized at the first City Council meeting of the year.

Detective Jones worked for the Burkburnett Police Department, Electra Police Department, and the Iowa Park Police Department before signing on with the Wichita Falls Police Department in 2000. During the past 16 years he has served in Patrol and in various units within the Criminal Investigation Section. He is currently assigned to the Financial Crimes Unit.

Detective Jones has been trained by the Secret Service as a Digital Forensics Investigator. He is certified on numerous digital forensic platforms such as Cellebrite, Pareben, and the F.R.E.D system. His service in the forensics field not only serves the WFPD but also surrounding agencies.  Detective Jones goes above and beyond the typical duties of an investigator to provide the utmost opportunity for criminal prosecution in cases which involve digital forensics.

Detective Jones’ dedication and work ethic brings great credit to the Wichita Falls Police Department and the City of Wichita Falls. Great Job!!

WFPD Arrest Local Man for Forgery

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Troy Shelton

On Tuesday, November 22nd at approximately 4:00 pm officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department responded to the 3900 block of Kemp Blvd (Kemp Discount) in reference to a check suspicious person. Upon arrival officers spoke to employees who stated a subject identified as 25 year old Troy Shelton came into the business and attempted to pass a check from Action Auto Salvage and Repair in the amount of $400.00.

The employee stated due to the amount of the check they called the business to verify the check was accurate. The employee then spoke with the business owner who arrived on scene and stated the signature on the check was not his and he had not authorized any checks to be written or passed. The owner also stated he had never seen Shelton on his property before and had never given him a check from his business.

Shelton stated his friend wrote the check to him and he went inside of Kemp Discount to cash it.

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