If it seems too good, or in this case suspicious, to be true, it probably is. That’s the guideline the Arizona Attorney General recommends to prevent getting scammed by telemarketers, sales representatives, and recently, fraudulent insurance companies.
Police in Lake Havasu City arrested Robert Musich, 46, who is accused of scamming hundreds of people in Arizona, California and Nevada by sending fake invoices of $413.11 for fire-insurance inspections that never happened, The Arizona Republic Reports.
RMZ Fire Safety is the phony company Musich is suspected of using to charge people for permits and inspections, which would normally be paid to the city, from an address that turned out to be a dental office in Phoenix.
Forgery, fraud and identity theft offenses are often times punished severely under Arizona law, which means Musich could face heavy fines, mandatory jail time or a lengthy term of supervised probation.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a warning that this type of invoice scam is circulating, and that businesses should be cautious of fraudulent companies.
The top ten most common scams in the state identified by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office are fraudulent car sales and auto repairs, work-at-home business schemes, fake prize scams, charity fraud, fake internet auctions, mortgage foreclosure “rescue” schemes, quick cash loans, telemarketing ripoffs and identity theft.
When it comes to identity theft, Arizona has the highest rate of complaints in the country, according to a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Other scams that have made their way into Arizona include the text message phishing scam, which asks people via text to enter their personal information to reactivate a bank account, and the “grandparent” scam, which targets seniors by faking a call from a grandchild in need of money in an urgent situation.
To protect yourself from dangerous scams, Brnovich offers these guidelines:
- Research businesses for complaints online or call the Better Business Bureau for help
- Work with a financial advisor, accountant or knowledgeable friend or relative who can help you research whether a business is reputable or a purchase or investment is a good decision before you make a purchase.
- Remember that most work-at-home business opportunities never make money for the purchasers, only for the sellers. If it were that easy or profitable, the telemarketers would do the work-at-home business themselves.
- Keep your financial information to yourself. Never give out credit card, checking or savings account information to anyone who calls you, as it is not difficult for someone with this data to draft money from your account.
- Ask the sales agent to mail you information about their product or services before you decide to buy. Legitimate companies should be happy to mail you a contract to review or a brochure about their product before you give them any payment information.
- Place your name on the national Do Not Call List.
- Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Hang up. A telemarketer has no right to your time or your money.