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Englewood Voices

Columns or blogs by Englewood people.

Renewing auto registrations online

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Kleinlein

Crime Scene

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – A num­ber of folks have renewed their auto reg­is­tra­tions on line allegedly from the Depart­ment of Motor Vehi­cles or the local Tax Col­lec­tor. After­ward they com­plained that they were billed at very high rates for the service.

I felt it would be pru­dent to look into the mat­ter and my Inves­ti­ga­tion revealed the following:

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Watch out for this rental deposit scam

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Kleinlein

Crime Scene

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – NBC News, the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau, and oth­ers have reported on this scam.

Crim­i­nals search the clas­si­fied sec­tions of news­pa­pers and scan neigh­bor­hoods for rental and for sale signs. When they see any they feel could make money for them they con­tact poten­tial vic­tims and offer the prop­er­ties at amounts far below mar­ket price, request­ing a down pay­ment to acquire a fan­tas­tic deal.

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Vacation package scam

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Kleinlein

Crime Scene

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – State Rep. Ray Pilon, a for­mer law enforce­ment offi­cer and can­di­date for the State Sen­ate, for­warded this infor­ma­tion to Crime Scene.

The Florida Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Con­sumer Ser­vices, and the Florida Attor­ney Gen­eral have issued con­sumer alerts warn­ing Florid­i­ans and vis­i­tors of an ongo­ing scam offer­ing fraud­u­lent pro­mo­tional vaca­tion pack­ages. The travel indus­try has reported a sharp increase in the num­ber of com­plaints related to fraud­u­lent Florida vaca­tion pack­ages. Be wary of robo calls, emails or faxes offer­ing pro­mo­tional vaca­tion pack­ages pur­ported to have been offered by legit­i­mate travel agen­cies, such as Expe­dia, Trav­e­loc­ity, Tri­pAd­vi­sor and others.

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Watch out for tech support scam

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Kleinlein

Crime Scene

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – My wife, Kathy, received two phone calls in the space of 10 min­utes from crooks attempt­ing to take con­trol of her com­puter. After telling her there were prob­lems with her com­puter they asked for the ser­ial num­ber so they could make repairs. She rec­og­nized the calls as scams and hung up.

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Persistent phone scammers continue to target our area

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Kleinlein

Crime Scene

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – A few days ago I received two robo calls in the space of a half hour allegedly from the IRS indi­cat­ing that this was my final notice before being arrested for tax fraud. My caller ID showed a cell phone call from (800−277− 9129) prob­a­bly a spoofed num­ber). I was instructed to call back in order to stop the procedure.

Today I received another call from the same num­ber with the same message.

This time I decided to call back.

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Which charities should you donate to?

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

Ken Klein­lein
Crime Scene

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – Every year, Amer­i­cans give bil­lions to char­i­ties. You prob­a­bly receive numer­ous requests for finan­cial assis­tance from legit­i­mate char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide assis­tance to those in need.

How­ever, mixed in with those law­ful requests are some that attempt to get you to donate to fraud­u­lent orga­ni­za­tions using mis­in­for­ma­tion and ille­gal methods.

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Identity theft and phone fraud in 2016

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Klein­lein
Crime Scene

An Engle­wood res­i­dent queried me about what scams to look out for in 2016. Engle­wood com­puter guru George Mar­riott (474−3177) (gmarriott@gmail.com) offered the fol­low­ing information:

David Dewey, direc­tor of research at Pin­drop Secu­rity, a firm that pro­vides anti-fraud detec­tion tech­nol­ogy for call cen­ters and phone users, offers the lat­est trends in iden­tity theft and phone fraud.

Uncle Sam Imper­son­ators
2015 was the year of the IRS scam: Crooks imper­son­at­ing the IRS and intim­i­dat­ing con­sumers into pay­ing penal­ties for back taxes accounted for nearly a quar­ter of all scams reported to the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau. Expect worse in 2016.

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Income tax scams

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Klein­lein
Crime Scene               

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – Request tax pre­par­ers’ cre­den­tials and ask if they belong to a state board or bar asso­ci­a­tion that require con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion. Is the busi­ness open year round?

Ask about ser­vice fees and avoid those who claim they can obtain larger refunds. Be wary of “Refund Antic­i­pa­tion Loans,” as fees will be required even if the loan is not approved. Would the use of a refund antic­i­pa­tion loan for a few days be worth fees that could be up to 180 per­cent APR?

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