Monday, July 27, 2009

CM James Urges Constituents To Be Aware of Con Artists


July 24, 2009

In light of two seniors having been scammed in the 35th District this past week, Council Member Letitia James warns constituents to be aware of con artists at work

(Brooklyn, NY) – This past week, two seniors in the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill area were scammed out of their hard earned cash. A NYPD investigation determined that what was originally reported by these victims as robberies, were actually found out to be scams, cons, or confidence schemes.

The office of the Attorney General reported that people over the age of 65 make up 13% of the U.S. population, and are almost 30 % of scam victims. As told to the police, and as reported by the New York Times’ The Local Fort Greene/Clinton Hill blog, an elderly woman said she was walking near the corner of Waverly and Greene Avenues when she was confronted by two females who forced her into a vehicle and demanded money. The initial police report states that this victim was taken to her apartment and one of them escorted her inside. The victim handed $1,900 to her captor, who then said they needed more money. The pair then drove the victim to Citibank and removed $1,000 from her ATM.

The victim was possibly embarrassed to tell what actually happened at first (usually the case); the perpetrators most likely offered to share with her money that they had ‘found,’ if she would offer some of her own money in good faith. They most likely left her with what was supposed to be a significant amount, when in reality it was probably an envelope filled with paper, not money. This is a cautionary tale to those who are approached by strangers with an offer that seems to good to be true. In all likelihood, it IS probably too good to be true.

“The telltale sign of a scam is when they ask for money. I told someone once (even though he claimed he was a neighbor and knew me well) that I would be happy to take him where he needed to go, or find others to aid him; I simply would NEVER give someone I do not know money,” said Richard Norton, member of the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Public Safety Task Force.

Experienced con artists are able to scam any person of any level of intelligence – everyone is vulnerable. Confidence tricks exploit typical human qualities like a naive expectation of good faith on the part of the con artist, and/or greed, dishonesty, compassion, honesty, compassion, honesty, vanity.

The online encyclopedia states, “Just asthere is no typical profile for swindlers, neither is there one for their victims. Confidence tricksters often rely on the greed and dishonesty of the mark, who may attempt to out-cheat the con artist, only to discover that he or she has been manipulated into losing from the very beginning. The confidence trickster often works with one or more accomplices called shills who help manipulate the mark into accepting the con man's plan. In a traditional confidence trick, the mark is led to believe that he will be able to win money or some other prize by doing some task.”

“Seniors and all residents need to be wary of ‘smiling faces’ especially during these economic times. A lesson learned - always be cautious of strangers asking for money, and please contact the NYPD, an elected official, the district attorney and/or the attorney general if you feel you are a victim of a scam,” said Council Member Letitia James.

For more information contact: Alfred Chiodo and Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191


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