Different incidents in the last week or two underscored the necessity of residents protecting themselves from scammers and undesirables or perhaps being separated from their money or goods.
Cher called them Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves in a hit song but for Oak Lawn residents, the petty crimes can sometimes be annoying yet sometimes avoidable.
In once incident, police were called for a burglary from a vehicle. The owner of the car parked in their driveway near Pulaski and 99th Place noticed on January 3rd, that the dog was barking loudly. When she looked out the window, she saw that the dome light in her husband’s car was on. Her husband checked the car and found the center console and glove box were opened and items were scattered in the car. The husband couldn’t be sure if he had locked the door to the car but was sure that only change had been taken in the burglary of this vehicle.
On that same day, in the Jewel parking lot at 88th and Ridgeland, an Oak Lawn senior citizen was approached by two men that told him that they could repair scratches on his car for half the price of the dealer. One of the men rubbed some green substance on the car and claimed that he also replaced five bolts under the car. He then demanded $480. The victim only had $20 and wisely told them he couldn’t go to the bank to get more money. He agreed to meet the two scammers at a restaurant but instead called the police. When the police went to the restaurant they couldn’t find the scammers.
Another man complained on January 2nd that he had $40 or $50 taken from his coin purse at Manor Care East on Kostner Avenue. He said he had taken the coin purse, his phone and couple of personal items to the second floor for therapy. He doesn’t know when the money was taken but he noticed later in the evening that it was gone.
On Christmas Eve, a resident complained, in an all too familiar story, that she had ordered a Canon Digital Camera valued at $400 from Amazon. She received notification of the delivery but the notification was that it was handed to someone at the home. Apparently that someone was not a resident of the same home because the victim said she was the only one home at the time of delivery. Apparently, someone intercepted the delivery.
The Oak Lawn Police Department has identified a couple of other scams. According to the village’s website, the police have warned about a ComEd scam and phone scams.
ComEd has seen an increase in reports of individuals calling ComEd customers and falsely claiming their electric service will be disconnected unless payment is made. These impersonators instruct customers to buy a prepaid credit card and call back to a different phone number with the personal identification number (PIN) or other personal information. They also use a tactic called “spoofing” to manipulate the Caller ID displayed phone number so that it appears as a ComEd number.
The Oak lawn police want residents to know that ComEd representatives will never call you to ask you for cash or request that you purchase a prepaid credit card to make a payment on your bill. If you have concerns about the status of your account, call ComEd’s Customer Service line at 1-800-334-7661(1-800-EDISON1).
The police are also asking residents to report any phone Scams. Many of the calls originate from overseas offenders and it’s nearly impossible to identify who they are in this world of computer and other technologies. The police wants the public be informed and understand it is o.k. to hang up on all unsolicited phone calls. The scammers are already treading into scam calls on residents’ cell phones. The Oak Lawn police wants to remind residents that they are under no obligation to speak to anyone. A simple “no thanks”, and a hanging up, is all it takes.
If you believe you have been the target of a phone scam, you are urged to contact the Illinois Attorney General’s office at 1-800-386-5438 (TTY 1-800-964-3013), or visit the Illinois Attorney General’s website “Protecting Consumers” link.