Police warn local businesses to beware of speaker scams - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Police warn local businesses to beware of speaker scams

Released by the City of Jacksonville:

Officials with the Jacksonville Police Department caution local business owners to be wary of a sales scam known to be taking place in this area. Police Chief Reece Daniel said he personally encountered the culprit earlier this week attempting to pull off a speaker scam popular to the Dallas-area in recent decades.

Daniel said the con involves an individual traveling from business to business trying to sell supposedly high-end electronic from the back of their truck.

"Usually they will say they were in the area for a trade show, and when they weren't able to sell all their equipment at the show, their boss told them to go around and get whatever they could for it," Daniel said. "So they will get someone to pay $300 for these speakers allegedly worth $2,000, and they turn out to actually be $20 speakers from Taiwan."

JPD was made aware of the local scammer when Dr. Edwin Crank, president of Jacksonville College, notified them that the man had just attempted to sell electronics to the school.

According to Daniel, Crank was able to provide an excellent description of the suspect and his vehicle. The information was then passed along to the entire department, however, it was Daniel himself who first came upon the individual on his way home from work.

"He gave me the whole story about a show in Tyler, but when I asked him about it he couldn't tell me where the show had been or where he picked up the equipment," he said. "After calling his boss, he tried to change his story by saying the trade show was actually next week – which completely kills his reason for going around selling these speakers at a discount."

When asked if he had obtained a solicitor's permit, the scammer claimed that he had attempted to get one from city hall but hadn't been allowed. He also claimed that Jacksonville's female mayor had even been interested in purchasing some of his merchandise – a dead giveaway to Daniel considering that the town's mayor is a man.

"At this point nobody has fallen for it, so we don't have a victim – if we did, he would have gone to jail that day," Daniel said. "So I explained to him that it would be a good idea for him to leave Jacksonville and not return unless he registered and had a permit. I don't expect to see him in town again."

The police chief warned that the occurrence of all kinds of scams increases during hard economic times. He said the speaker scam is so effective because the reasoning behind it is plausible.

JPD advises citizens who are approached by individuals they suspect may be running a scam to insist on seeing a solicitor's permit. If they cannot produce one, do not do business with them. If you encounter a scam, immediately contact the police and provide as much detail about the culprit and their vehicle as possible.

"We are seeing an up-tick in scams recently, and people need to aware that this type of thing is happening in Jacksonville. Over the years I have seen people lose thousands of dollars to scams like this. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Daniel said.

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