Logan City police officers are alerting Cache Valley of the dangers of Internet fraud. With fliers, social media, and even Spanish speaking radio programs, the police are educating the public in attempt to prevent scams from gaining traction.
Sgt. Shand Nazer said the Logan City Police Department gets daily calls reporting Internet fraud, but with many of the scams being operated from remote locations outside of the U.S. it’s virtually impossible for local police forces to apprehend Internet criminals.
Nazer said once fraudulent activity is reported to the police they can write a police report detailing the crime, but resources and jurisdiction require them to outsource to law enforcement on the federal level in order to seek justice. Regardless, Nazer said Internet scammers “rarely get caught.”
Nazer said many of the scams being seen in Cache Valley involve fraudulent cashier’s checks or money orders. Internet defrauders will convince a victim they have won a lottery and proceed to send the victim a fraudulent money order or cashier’s check. After persuading the victim to send a portion of the money back to them in cash, the check will be discovered as fraudulent resulting in the funds being withdrawn from the victim’s account. Similar scams are preformed when expensive items are sold online.
Rick Sparrow, an enrolled agent at Sparrow Kunz & Chatterton, said the elderly are often targeted in these schemes. Sparrow said he had a client who was contacted by defrauders who claimed her grandson needed money for bail. They knew personal details about her grandson and convinced her it was best to not contact the young man’s parents. The grandmother wire transferred $95,000 to an account overseas for the sake of her grandson. Sparrow said there was nothing anyone could do to return her money.
Sparrow said “Utah is the worst state” for Internet fraud. He said the community surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is more susceptible to Internet fraud due to their trusting nature. Sparrow has had 15 clients suffer identity theft this year. The Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that Utah filed 1,825 Internet crime complaints in 2014, resulting in $6.17 million lost.