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Hey! Listen to the Scam Squad

Posted at 5:17 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 21:17:27-04
GREEN VALLEY, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - There's a back-and-forth-battle out there between scam artists constantly cooking up new schemes and law enforcement working to keep you and your money safe.
 
The Green Valley area has a special scam squad---retirees working to head off scams before they clean out another victim.
 
In the Green Valley area, the Pima County Sheriff's Department organized a strong corps of volunteers to help keep the community safe.
     
They wear uniforms, drive official cars, maintain Neighborhood Watch programs and realized fighting scams deserved a special watch all it's own.
 
KGUN9 Reporter Craig Smith asked Scam Squad member Sylvia Bencomo: “In it's own way the world of the internet, the phones, the electronic world is kind of its own neighborhood.”  
 
Bencomo: "Yes." 
 
Smith: “And it needs a watch.” 
 
Bencomo: “It needs a watch, yes.  We tell people be careful when you answer the phone.  If you have Caller ID don't pick up if you don't recognize the number. Let it go to voice mail or your answering machine."
        
Green Valley is home base for the Scam Squad but members do try to educate people all over Pima County. 
 
Scam Squad members fielded more than 613 calls last year.  Once a victim's lost money the case goes to a regular deputy. Squad members work towards the education that equals prevention. 
         
Here are some top tips from the squad:
         
Don't fall for phone calls and e-mails.  They make it easy for crooks to seem legit and official.
Sylvia Bencomo says, “IRS is not gonna call you.  Microsoft Word is not gonna call you.  None of these big corporations is gonna call you.  They're going to send you a letter.  If at all."
 
To avoid identity theft, shred anything that has your name and address.
 
If a loved one dies, don't add to your grief by putting personal info in the obituary.
 
Bencomo says,”There's all kinds of names and relatives names and so forth.  Scammers look for these things.  Then they go on line or they go to Facebook...our grandkids post a lot of stuff on Facebook---stuff you don't want them to but you're too kind to say, 'Don't do that.'"
 
And watch out for people posing as utility workers so they can come in and steal.  Call the utility from a number you look up.  You'll probably scare off a thief.