Don’t be victim of telephone holdup |

Don’t be victim of telephone holdup

Dear Editor,

More and more, Americans are the targets for a new kind of criminal: one that holds you up in your own home but does not use a gun or a knife. Rather, this criminal’s weapon is the telephone. There are more than 14,000 fraudulent telemarketing operations calling hundreds of thousands of Americans every day. Sadly, older citizens are very often the prime targets.

In one study, nearly 80 percent of criminal telemarketers investigated by the FBI were targeting their fraudulent calls specifically at the elderly.

Telemarketing crime is estimated to cost Americans more than $40 billion a year.

While fraudulent telemarketers are targeting vulnerable, isolated older citizens, the problem does not stop there. Statistics show that many of the people preyed upon by dishonest telemarketing companies are well educated and socially or civically active in their communities. The sale practices used by fraudulent telemarketing firms are therefore appropriately sophisticated and include bogus prizes, illegal sweepstakes, sham investments and phony charities.

Sadly, many illegal telemarketing operations also use police charities and the fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks as a basis to steal your money.

We at the Silt Police Department would like to remind everyone that DBR Publishing is the ONLY firm authorized to raise funds over the phone using our name. Donations raised through this legitimate program help pay for our annual police calendar while at the same time providing us with $1,000 toward our various community policing initiatives and services.

We will be happy to provide callers with information about DBR so as to determine whether the call is legitimate or not. All other Silt police fund-raising is done via U.S. mail on department letterhead or in person by uniformed officers working on their own time for the youth of our community.

Funds raised through this latter method go towards our annual Bike Safety Rodeo through which we provide free bike helmets and safety equipment to all area kids who need them.

Legitimate telemarketers should freely provide their names, call-back numbers, and a bona fide address. Regardless, we encourage everyone to not give out personal or financial information over the phone and to contact their police or sheriff’s department, along with the Better Business Bureau, if you have even the slightest doubt or concern about a telemarketer.

Detective Mike Williams

Silt Police Department

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