April 14, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 16

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    Police warn of potential scams

    As the weather breaks, certain types of crimes tend to resurface, including scams and confidence games. Some tips on avoiding common scams are listed below.

    _ Beware of friendly strangers who say they have found a large amount of cash and want to divide it with you. The criminals -- who are often women and often pose as strangers to one another -- typically will require money from you before the cash can be divided. You will never see the money or the strangers again.

    _ Never buy merchandise from strangers on the street. That wonderful name-brand color television or VCR in its original carton is likely to be a box of bricks.

    _ Beware of strangers who call and claim that a friend, neighbor or co-worker is in jail or in trouble and needs money. The caller will typically try to get you to give money to help your friend. Verify the situation by, for example, calling the police station where the caller claims your friend is being held. Never give anyone your address over the phone, and never agree to meet the caller at another location.

    _ Watch for charity fraud. Always check out an unfamiliar charity before making a donation.

    Call police immediately if you have been victimized or if you suspect fraud. For more information, call the South East Chicago Commission at 324-6926.