Bedford County Sheriff’s Office Needs Information About Recent Thefts

Between the dates of March 11th and March 13th 2015 unknown subject or subjects entered the property of Witt Mechanical located at 2990 E. Lynchburg Salem Turnpike Bedford Va. At that time, a 1982 Chevrolet Suburban and1997 Easy Ride utility trailer 18-20 ft tilt bed car hauler were stolen.

Utility Trailer

Utility Trailer

Stolen Chevy Suburban

Stolen Suburban

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bedford County Sheriffs Office and speak with Inv. Steve Smith: phone (540-586-4800 EXT. 4076 /540-586 7827). You can submit a tip via our anonymous tip form and you may also make an anonymous report to Central Virginia Crime stoppers at 1-888-798-5900. Information leading to the arrest and subsequent conviction are subject to a reward up to $1000.00

 

Beware of These Scams!

Fraud Alert

Your phone rings. The caller ID reads “Internal Revenue Service.”  It’s the IRS calling to tell you that you owe taxes.  The agent on the phone provides their name and badge number, and the agent provides the last four digits of your Social Security number as verification. The agent tells you the amount of taxes that you owe, threatens consequences of the failure to pay back taxes such as loss of business license or jail time, and takes any questions you may have.  Next, they provide you with details on how to pay your back taxes through debit card or wire transfer.

Now the question ­– is the IRS agent real or fake?

The answer is: fake. This is the scenario of one of the latest consumer scams, which has many Americans sending their hard-earned dollars to the “IRS” only to find out that they have fallen victim to financial theft.

I shared this scenario last year. Unfortunately, it’s still one of the top reported consumer scams in the United States. In fact, tax-related identity theft was the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2014, while the number of complaints from consumers about criminals impersonating IRS officials was nearly 24 times more than in 2013, according to FTC statistics.

Internet and telephone consumer scams that result in identity or financial theft are becoming more sophisticated and they are often unidentifiable at first blush. Here are three recent scams to be aware of, according to the Better Business Bureau’s Top Ten Scams of 2014:

The Grandchild Emergency Scam

Scammers call pretending to be a grandchild who was arrested and robbed and needs money ASAP. They start by saying “Grandma? Can you hear me ok?” They’ll wait for the grandparent to say a grandchild’s name (“Justin? Is that you sweetheart?”). Scammers then use emotional pleas to ask for money. For instance, they might say, “Please don’t call my parents – I know they will be mad at me, but I need help and you are the only person I could turn to to bail me out. I need $5,000 for bail.” They’ll provide instructions for wiring money. Typically, these scams target older individuals who are likely to help a grandchild with no questions asked.

The Tech Support Scam

Scammers use phone call or internet pop ups on your computer. They claim to be an individual from Microsoft, Apple, or another tech company. They tell you that they received an alert that there are errors that need to be repaired on your computer. They will attempt to get remote access to your computer in order to “repair” the bug. These scams often happen at a workplace, where you may be more inclined to share information with a tech support group.

The Click Bait Scam

Scammers use popular news, like breaking news stories, celebrity images, or other enticing stories to bait you to click on a video or photograph. The click leads you to unintentionally download malware to your computer.

So how can individuals protect themselves against scams such as these? In this day of technology, consumers must learn to be vigilant in sharing and protecting personal information no matter what the platform. The following steps may help in protecting you from a scam:

First, verify the person you are speaking with or the link you have received is who he, she, or it claims to be. In all of the instances above (and with most telephone and internet scams), the scammers request personal information over a non-secure site (your mobile device, a website, or over the phone). Often, institutions have policies that state they will never request personal information by email, text, or social media. When in doubt, hang up and call the institution or agency using a phone number listed on an old bank statement, from an official website, or other trusted document. If the request is legitimate, the person will be able to direct you to an agent for assistance.

Second, don’t send money to someone you don’t know. Agencies like the IRS usually first contact people by mail about unpaid taxes. Again, calling the agency using a phone number from a trusted source will help verify an appropriate method for any necessary payments. If you use online auction sites (like eBay), the FTC recommends using a payment option that provides protection, like a credit card.  If a caller says that they are someone you know, the FBI recommends calling another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate. The FBI also recommends never wiring money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail because, “wiring money is like giving cash—once you send it, you can’t get it back.” http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/april/grandparent_040212

Third, learn how to keep your personal information secure online and offline. The FTC has tips for anything from securing your Social Security number to keeping your mobile devices secure: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure.

Finally, stay up to date on the latest scams. If you suspect you’re the target of a scam, do a quick search through Google or another search engine to see if something similar has been reported in the news. The Federal Trade Commission regularly posts scam alerts on its website. You can sign up to receive scam alerts by email, too: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.

If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam, report the incident to the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov/complaint. Also, report scams to your state Attorney General. In Virginia, those complaints can be filed at http://www.oag.state.va.us/index.php/citizen-resources/consumer-protection.

Whitehouse Road Currently Closed Due to Structure Fire At Mayberry Diner

road closed

Bedford County Fire and Rescue Units are on the scene of a structure fire at the Mayberry Diner located at 1696 Whitehouse Road in Moneta. Whitehouse Road in currently closed and drivers are asked to avoid the area. Bedford County Fire Chief Jack Jones is the Officer in Charge at the scene.

Any further press releases of this incident will be done by Bedford County Fire and Rescue Office……

‘Felony Lane Gang’ Targeting Purses Left in Cars

A national crime network known as the “Felony Lane Gang” has stretched into metro D.C., targeting women who leave purses in cars and stealing from their bank accounts, crime analysts say.

The network is currently active in at least 34 states, drawing the attention of crime analysts who have been tracking its spread.

The gang’s M.O. sticks out: It starts when they spot a purse or wallet left visible in a car.

“They’re surveilling daycare centers, they’re surveilling shopping centers, they’re surveilling those places where people would pull in and park their car for a few minutes or a few hours,” said Louis Grever, a retired FBI agent now consulting with the Wynyard Group who has tracked the Felony Lane Gang.

The gang smashes the window if needed, then takes the purse or wallet. They immediately try to cash any checks they find, heading to drive-through banks and using the farthest lane from the teller to avoid detection.

That last-lane trick is how the gang got their name. The gang may also try to match the perpetrator to the stolen identity.

“They’ll go to extremes to try to camouflage how they look,” said Officer Bud Walker of Fairfax County Police. “And I’ve heard of wigs, and masks, and that kind of thing.”

The analysts tracking the Felony Lane Gang say the technique has spread north from South Florida in the past 10 years.

“They’ll take $900 to $1,000 at a time,” said Matt Melton, senior solutions consultant for the Wynyard Group, who has aggregated data on the gang and identified its leaders.

“You take a step back and you realize it’s a national organization that’s costing Americans tens of millions of dollars,” Melton said.

Link Source: NBC4 Washington

IRS Scam Alert – Please Share

Fraud Alert

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office has received many calls from citizens advising they had received a call from an IRS Agent. The caller identifies themselves as an agent and tells the person that they owe the IRS money.

This is a scam and people receiving these calls are advised not to provide any personal information. The person is also advised to contact the IRS should they have a question.

Time Sensitive – Business Scam Where Callers Pretend to be AEP

Fraud AlertPress Release
February 24, 2015

Sheriff Brown is providing the following information in reference to a ‘scam ‘ being perpetuated against businesses in our area.

The business owner receives a call from 866-978-8143 from a person alleging that they were calling from AEP and asking for payments of large amounts, $1,000.00 to $1,400.00, for ‘balance owed’ or, they would ‘cut off’ the power to the business. The first person to speak did not have an accent, but passed off the customer to a woman with an accent…Far East accent or similar and asking that the amount owed be ‘wired’ to ‘powerreloadit’

If you receive this type of call DO NOT PAY! But, call AEP to register the call and ask if, in fact, your business does have a ‘balanced owed.’

While we only have businesses reporting this ‘scam’ households should also be alert to this newest, in this area, ‘scam.’ Probably because of the severe cold weather and snow we are experiencing.

Download the PDF Press Release to Place in your Retail Office

National White Collar Crime Center Newsletter Highlights Elderly Scams and Identity Theft

“The Briefing”, a newsletter from the National White Collar Crime Center, highlights elderly scams and identity theft and has other information on relevant topics to today such as data breaches and legislation requiring businesses to notify consumers within 30 days of a data breach.

Take the time to read this and educate yourself so you can stay safe from scams and identity theft.

NW3C Newletter in PDF

SCAM ALERT: Euro Millions Lottery Letters Are A Scam

Fraud Alert

Citizens are receiving letters from  the “Euro Millions Lotteries Board Commission” asking you to call a number and claim your winnings.

THIS IS A SCAM.

Here is an actual letter: Sample Euro Millions Lotteries Board Letter

 

FRAUD ALERT: Don’t Let This Utility Scam Leave You Out In The Cold

Fraud Alert

BBB Alert: Don’t Let this Utility Scam Leave You Out in the Cold

Roanoke, VA (January 20, 2015) – Winter has arrived and as the temperature continue to drop, heating costs continue to rise. Utility bills aren’t the only thing on the rise- the nasty weather is also attracting a nasty scam.

Businesses in Western Virginia are reporting receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be their electric utility company threatening to turn off their power unless an immediate payment is made. The caller claims to represent Appalachian Power and requests payment through a pre-paid debit card.

Appalachian Power, a unit of American Electric Power, has issued the following alert on their website:

Thieves are calling our customers, threatening to shut off power unless an immediate payment is made. Appalachian Power never asks for pre-paid debit cards for payment. Please use our authorized payment methods, and call us at (800) 956-4237 if you have questions or concerns.

The caller may sound official, and may threaten to immediately cut off the power if payment is not received. One business owner reported to BBB that the call came from a 1-877-303-0600 number and claimed to be American Electric Power. We called on 1/17/15 and a recording claimed to be American Electric Power. When we called the number just three days later on 1/20/15, we heard a recording stating we had reached the “NV Energy Disconnection Dept.” NV Energy is a legitimate utility company based out of Nevada. It appears the scammers are using the same set of phone numbers, and are
re-recording their messages using the name of a utility company that serves the zip code they are currently targeting.

“If anyone calls you and demands immediate payment accompanied by threats, hang up the phone,” says Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. “A legitimate company will not operate in this manner. If you have an account with the company the caller is claiming to represent, use a verified number to call the company to check the status of your account. Never use the number supplied by the caller.”

BBB advises the following:

  • Confirm that you are speaking to a utility representative.  If you have any concerns, tell the caller that you will independently check the phone number for the utility to verify the caller’s identity and information. The toll free number for Virginia AEP consumers is 1-800-956-4237.
  • Be wary of anyone demanding immediate payment or payment in forms that are difficult to trace, such as Western Union, MoneyGram or GreenDot MoneyPak cash cards.
  • Never give your credit card, debit card, Social Security, ATM, checking or savings account numbers to anyone who comes to your home, calls or sends an email requesting information.
  • Never allow anyone claiming to be a utility service person into your home unless you have scheduled an appointment and the person has proper identification. Contact police if you become concerned about your safety.
  • If you believe you may be the victim of a scam, you may contact your utility company, or you may call the BBB at (800) 533-5501.

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and 11,000 charities, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.

 

If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BBBWesternVA and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BBBWesternVA.

Download a PDF of this Fraud Alert from the BBB

Traffic Alert: Section of Route 696 (Crouch Road) Will Be Closed

road closed

Traffic Alert

Beginning Monday, October 30, 2014 a section of Route 696, (Crouch Road) will be closed to traffic for pipe replacements.

The road will be closed between Route 617, (Pike Road) and approximately 0.5 miles west of the intersection of Route 695 (Goose Creek Valley Road).

The road will reopen Friday, December 5, 2014