Category Archives: Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch: Phone Scams on the Rise

Phone scams are hitting the area again. Here are some of the scams the department has dealt with:

You get a call in the middle of the night and it is the police telling you that your grandchild has been arrested and needs money for bail. You are trying to wake up and figure out what is going on when someone gets on the phone and says grandma this is your favorite grandson or granddaughter (never says his or her name). The half sleepy you says Tommy?,Yes it’s me Tommy and I am in trouble and need money for bail. Then the “police” get back on the line and give instructions on how to transfer money to a location via Western Union or some other wire service.
The Western Union form has a section that warns about senders not to send money for an unconfirmed emergency related to a grandchild or other family member.
If you get one of these calls before you send money check it out; call the person that needs the bail money you may find they are sleep in their beds, or call their parents see where the child is located. Get the name of the police officer and police department that called and get a call back number.

The department has been made aware of the following; “I have been receiving several scam calls on my cell phone lately. They are coming from various phone numbers:
(268) 762-0004: from Antigua/Barbuda (848) 459-4922: from NJ (904) 239-5694: from FL (767) 275-9061: from Dominica (305) 507-4771: from Miami, FL (507) 124-5698: from MN (207) 121-4587: from ME
The one time I spoke with the caller; he is male with a heavy Middle Eastern/Indian accent and states he is from the Department of Medical Compensation or the State Medical Health office. He knew my name and asked if I had a surgery recently. I stated that I had but I did not tell him the kind of surgery. He stated (assumed) that since I have had side effects from my surgery (I have not but didn’t tell him that) that I qualify for compensation for my side effects. I asked the caller for their name (Aaron) and the phone number. The number he gave me after fumbling for a while was 848-459 and that was it. I asked to call him back after checking with my Doctor and the hospital and he stated that this was my one and only chance at getting the compensation. I asked to speak to a supervisor and he said he was the supervisor. I asked if there was a manager or VP, President, etc., that I could speak with, NONE. Then I stated that I was not a stupid woman and that I knew this was a scam and would appreciate that they remove me from their calling list and that I had my phone registered on the DO NOT CALL list. He got very belligerent and said you sound like a very stupid woman, cursed at me and I hung up.

I have been reading the comments on a website (800notes.com) regarding the phone number that I typed in (848) 459-4922 and they have similar stories and comments in regards to this issue.
I am receiving calls from the list of phone numbers above multiple times a day (which I ignore and put on my block list) and I got a call at 5:44AM this morning from the Antigua/Barbuda number.” This was all from a Neighborhood Watch Captain who wanted to make sure that we were all aware of cell phone scams and not to fall for them.

All the scams have taken on a new life because of the internet. Scams that use to come in the mail are now making the rounds on the internet which can reach 100,000 of victims at one time. All the bad guy needs is a few victims to send money to him and it is a good day for the bad guy.
We all have to remember that personal information is so easy to obtain these days and we all need to be careful in how we dispose of personal information. It is best to shred any papers that have your name address or any type of information about you. You don’t have to have a shredder, a sharp pair of scissors will do the job just as well.

CLICK HERE for a link to FBI page about scams

If you did not initiate the call do not give out any information to the caller.Just remember the old adage: ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’. Take the time to check things out before sending money.
The bad guys don’t hibernate, they stay active in all kinds of weather. So stay aware and protect yourself and your families.

Officer Mark G. Alba

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Neighborhood Watch: Phone Scam

Neighborhood Watchers keep aware. Today I was informed about a phone call that was received by someone in our city.

The call was a scam. This lady was promised $7,800.00 dollars by the government in the form of a grant. A grant she would never have to pay back. All she had to do is go to Wal-Mart, CVS or Walgreens and buy a $5.00 dollar “Green Back Money scratch Voucher”; and call a number with the area code 202 before stepping into the store. Of course she would have to send $150.00 for processing charges, and she was even given a file number.

The lady who told me about this scam wanted to get the word out. Obviously the lady did not send any money because she believed the old adage ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’.

Officer Mark G. Alba

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Fountain Stolen On Park Avenue

Yes, the subject line is correct. Bill Mann and Bob Pashek at 151 Park Avenue are missing their giant vintage fountain that they spent years finding, months installing, and more months landscaping. They discovered, on Christmas Eve of all days, that it was gone! The wonder is how this could have occurred without someone noticing. And that’s the point to be made here—how could this have happened without someone noticing? Friends, those green “Neigborhood Watch” signs in our windows aren’t just for show. We have a reputation of watching out for one another, as the signs say.

If you have any information or saw anything suspicious on Dec 23rd or 24th on the lower part of Park Avenue please contact Bill or Bob at bpashek@cox.net.

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Neighborhood Watchers, now that the temperatures have dropped to a level where we all have to have the furnace running don’t forget to check your air conditioning units to make sure all the connections are still there. Since the units are shut off it is an easier target for copper thieves.

Remember don’t warm up your vehicle unless you have a way to lock it or have a remote car system that shuts itself off when the vehicle is put in drive.

The men and women of the Council Bluffs Police Department would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and please drive safely. To read an article about the Police bringing out extra patrols for Thanksgiving CLICK HERE

Officer Mark G. Alba

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Vacant Houses and Businesses

Neighborhood Watchers, your police department would like to have your assistance. If you can check your neighborhoods for houses or businesses that are empty or vacant and then call 712-329-1856 or e-mail dmwissler@councilbluffs-ia.gov to report them it would be a great help. The number is to Sgt. D. Wissler’s phone where you can leave the address of the residence or business. If there happens to be some type of sign with a phone number on it that information would also be great to have.

We are trying to get a better number and location on how many empty houses and businesses there are in the city.

Officer Mark G. Alba

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Neighborhood Watch – Cox Cable Solicitation

The Neighborhood PAR Officers have gotten reports from the neighborhoods that there are Door to Door sales people saying that they are from Cox Cable Company and are trying to sell new services to Cox customers. I did contact the City clerk and she stated that the company GMG Direct did have five sellers in the Council Bluffs area who are as follows; a Joseph Beyer, Tracy Fisher, Wendy Baldwin, Mike Rieken & Kevin Gilbert, and they are selling new services for Cox cable and have a permit.

Remember always ask for identification; and if they are trying sell Cox services and it is not one of the five people or refuse to show ID listed call police right away.

Thanks

Officer Mark G. Alba

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Phone Scam Alert

The Regers, 315 Park Avenue, have reported a phone scam. A company calling themselves “American Senior” is contacting senior citizens in the area requesting to set up a home visit to explain recent Medicare changes. They then try to get personal information over the phone. The home visit is not followed thru and the seniors could be susceptible to identity theft.

The Regers knew immediately that the callers were fraudulent when they asked for a Social Security Number. They reported the Company and phone number to the Better Business Bureau for further investigation. If you receive a similar type of call you can also contact them at the below information.

Website:
Better Business Bureau
Email:
info@dm.bbb.org
Address:
Better Business Bureau
505 5th Ave., Suite 950
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone Number:
515-243-8137
Toll-free:
1-800-222-1600

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C.B. Police Dept. Halloween Tips

Neighborhood Watchers

Tomorrow night is Halloween and your neighborhoods will be visited by Ironman, Superman, Hello Kitty’s, Batman and Disney Princesses and many other costume characters. They will be looking for the treats that you will be handing out.

Let’s try to make sure that all the little ghouls and goblins have a safe and happy evening.
Drive a little slower in the neighborhoods; keep an eye out for kids coming out from between cars. Remember these kids are very excited and may not remember their safety rules, so this maybe a good night not to be using a cell phone to cut down on the distractions inside your car.

Make sure that your yard is clear of obstacles such as ladders, hoses, things that young ones can trip and fall on. Use the battery powered candles to light up the pumpkins much safer than real candles
Remember if you want kids to come to your house check to make sure the outside light works and that they are turned on.

For Parents

Parents should always try to accompanied their children
Go over safety rules about strangers, rides, crossing street with your children.
Children should carry change so they can make a call phone if needed (or cell phone if old enough)
Make sure that the costume is made of a flame-retardant material, make sure costumes fit and don’t drag on the ground
Your children should know how to get ahold of just in case they need to.
You should know the area where your children are going
Although tamping is rare, tell children to bring the candy home so you can inspect it
Check the wrapping if anything looks suspect toss the candy out

For Kids
Carry a flashlight or light sticks or if you are younger you may want to go out before it gets too late. Obey traffic rules Stay on the sidewalks Walk don’t run don’t run in between parked cars or crisscross back and forth across the street
Stay in familiar neighborhoods; be respectful of other people’s property (no tricks)
Shoes should fit even if they don’t go with the costume (trip hazard)
You may want to use face make-up so you can see better mask can interfere with your vision
Carry only flexible knives or swords or other props
Wear clothes with reflective markings or tape to help drivers see you
Only stop at houses that are well-lighted Never go into the house unless you know the person

Have a safe one

Officer Mark G. Alba

PS report any acts of vandalism to 911 right away

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Neighborhood Watch- Door to Door Salesmen

This week a person representing himself as a magazine subscription salesman was working his way down Park Ave. He said that the sales would benefit organizations in the area such as Boys Town. Although this man was very well spoken, he was also very aggressive and attempted to talk people into spending large sums of money on these subscriptions, in one case as much as $450. On Tuesday evening, Channel 5 in Omaha did a story about this group, but said these salesmen were blanketing the Omaha area. Apparently, they are also in Council Bluffs. The company they represent has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau. The Omaha Police Department recommended that people call the police if they are approached by any of these salesmen. This is good advice however we urge you to call and register a complaint to the City Clerk at 712-328-4616. The clerk will contact the person who took out the sellers permit.

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Neighborhood Watch- Door to Door Sales

A Neighborhood Watch has reported the following:
Some neighbors, have come across a few “young people” claiming to sell books, resources, etc. & are a bit pushy and want too much information regarding our children & household & neighbors!
Also, a couple of other families have reported that the “Census Bureau” has sent people to their doors asking personal questions too—-When they have called to verify that these people are for real, they have been told they are not!
When situations like the first one happens a person needs to find out what organization that person represents and register a complaint to the City Clerk at 712-328-4616. The clerk will contact the person who took out the sellers permit.
If the second situation occurs if you don’t believe the person is with the Census Bureau or whatever business or organization they say they are with, call the police. The following information is off the Census Bureau web site.
How to Identify a Census Field Representative
If you are visited by someone from the United States Census Bureau, here are some RECOGNITION TIPS to assure the validity of the field representative;
· Must present an ID Badge which contains: photograph of field representative, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.
· Will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the regional office phone number for verification, if asked.
· Will provide you with a letter from the director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead.
· May be carrying a laptop and/or bag with a Census Bureau logo.
When in doubt, please call the Chicago Regional Office for verification at 1-800-865-6384. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Central Daylight Time

In any case do not let these people into your home, it’s not that all sellers are bad people but to ensure your safety this is the best policy.

Officer Mark G. Alba

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