VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Police Department issued warnings Wednesday for residents to beware of scams and a rise in the number of thefts from parked cars.
• Valdosta Police Cmdr. Brian Childress and Lt. Leslie Manahan warn that Valdosta residents should not keep valuable items in their vehicles whether parked in a business parking lot or at home.
Childress said the thefts from vehicles are on the rise throughout the city.
The commander advises residents lock their vehicle doors and leave no valuable items in the car. If you must leave items in a car while shopping, these items should be locked inside the trunk.
• Manahan warns Valdostans to keep an eye open for groups of people approaching shoppers in business parking lots.
These groups claim to be the business’ employees who have found money. These people essentially tell the shopper they have found money but, as employees of the business, they cannot keep it. They attempt to convince the shopper if she withdraws more money from her banking account, she can share in the found money.
Manahan says the VPD is aware of one such case where a woman went to the bank, withdrew $4,500 cash and gave it to the group. The group went into the Valdosta business and the woman never saw them or her money again. She also learned the members of the group had no affiliation with the business.
Manahan and Childress remind people of all ages, if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
• Childress also reiterated that Valdostans beware of a phone scam with callers claiming to represent a governmental fraud department.
Residents have reported receiving calls from a California 213 area code. The caller claims to represent the Department of Legal Affairs Investigations Fraud Department. The caller claims the person answering the phone owes money and will be jailed if the money is not paid.
Childress says these calls are “completely a fraud.” The police commander advises that anyone receiving these calls should not give the caller any personal information.
Childress advises never giving any personal information on the phone to an unknown caller.
If someone calls claiming you won the lottery, or claiming to represent your bank or credit card company, the commander says people should demand the caller’s name and a return phone number. Then they should call their financial institution to confirm the information.
Though the police and media have issued several warnings regarding various phone scams, Childress says some recipients still fall for the calls.
Anyone who has encountered any of these incidents or other suspicious activity should call 911; or Valdosta Police Department investigators, (229) 293-3145.