Bell Gardens Police Department Contact Us

Identity Theft & Fraud

If it looks or sounds too good to be true then it is!  There is no such thing as a home loan or secured loan that costs you hundreds or thousands of dollars up front.  There is no such thing as someone having the winning lottery ticket but they can’t cash it.  There is no such thing as free water heaters and home appliances – don’t let strangers into your house.  Remember, when in doubt call the Police to verify!

It’s not always easy to spot con artists. They invade your home through the telephone, computer, and mail; advertise in well-known newspapers and magazines; and come through your door. Most people think they’re too smart to fall for a scam, but the opposite is true.


  • Make sure you understand how an online auction works before you bid on merchandise.
  • Investigate the seller as much as possible. Be wary if the seller has only a post office box address or an email address.
  • Bid at auction houses only if there’s insurance to protect the buyer or an escrow account where your money will be held until you receive your merchandise.
  • Always use a credit card for your auction purchase so that you can dispute the charge if necessary; never use a wire transfer, money order, or personal check.
  • To protect yourself against exorbitant charges, make sure you know the shipping and handling charges up front.
  • To foil identity thieves, never give out your Social Security number or other personal information.
  • Shred all bills, bank statements, and “pre-approved” credit card offers before you put them in the trash.
  • Don’t have new checks mailed to you at home; pick them up at the bank.
  • When someone asks you for a contribution to a charity, call the charity and make sure it is soliciting in your neighborhood.
  • Make your check out to the name of the charitable organization, never to the person who is doing the soliciting, and mail it directly to the charity.