Metro fraud detectives offer sessions on how to avoid scams

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – So far in 2017, the Metro Nashville Police Department has received 3,165 fraud reports.

Around 1,000 of those cases involve credit card fraud.

The fraud division investigates embezzlement, forgery, theft, scams, checks, credit cards, cybercrimes, identity theft, and various types of counterfeiting to include checks, credit cards and merchandise.

“We need to know where the crimes are occurring so we can stay on top of the trends on what fraud is hot right now,” Sgt. Michael Warren said. “When we start seeing that we have habitual offenders we start focusing our resources on those individuals.”

(Graphic: WKRN)

Detectives from the fraud division meet with community groups, homeowner associations and professional organizations to discuss current scams. They will also talk to the groups about how to report fraud if they fall victim.

“The way I approach it is I leave it as an open floor and I ask them what kind of fraud they are seeing,” Sgt. Warren said. “I then give information specific to frauds they are seeing in their communities.”

This information can be especially helpful to older adults. The fraud division has taken reports of 258 victims age 60 years or older.

So far in the past week, 14 people have filed reports with the fraud division.

One of the more common scams that target older adults is the relative in jail scam. Thirty people have reported being victims.

“When the person calls, they instill fear in the grandparent, so they immediately think their loved one needs help,” Sgt. Warren explained. “Then almost immediately when they call back to make sure their grandchild is ok, they find out it was a scam.”

Roofing scams and home improvement scams are also big during the spring and summer.

There are numerous complaints involving Exterior Energy Solutions, a company accused of taking insurance money and not completing the required roof work. The owner, Albert Hartless, is charged with felony theft in Wilson County and has multiple reports against him in Davidson.

In the fall, News 2’s Andy Cordan reported on Henry Cooper. A man accused of taking money from older adults for work he never completed and then harassing his victims for payment.

A News 2 viewer installed a Ring Doorbell camera and helped police link him to multiple theft cases. He is serving a six-year prison sentence for theft.

Henry Cooper (Photo: Submitted)

“The group he was working with left the state of Tennessee because they knew apprehension was inevitable.” Sgt. Warren told News 2. “People kept putting out information on them.”

Metro police also warn you not to be victimized by people promising to get your money back if you are victimized.

“They are badge players who come to you promising to get your money back. They may even pretend to be Metro police,” he said. “We never charge you to work a case, tax dollars pay our salary.”

You can also reach out to organizations like FiftyForward if you are over the age of 50.

To sign up for a community talk with Metro polcie’s fraud division, contact the Community Affairs coordinator for your precinct. You can also call the fraud division directly at 615-862-7594.