Denver City Chief of Police David Hennigan has reported his office has received complaints concerning telephone scams from unknown sources and has offered some advice on what to do if someone receives one of these calls.
Telephone scammers try to steal your money or personal information. Scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages. The callers often make false promises, such as opportunities to buy products, invest your money, or receive free product trials. They may also offer you money through free grants and lotteries. Some scammers may call with threats of jail or lawsuits if you don’t pay them.
In the recent case in Denver City Hennigan said a young lady who had recently moved to Denver City came to his office saying she had received a phone call from someone who said they were with the Lubbock Police Department with information that someone had possibly hacked her Wells Fargo account. The caller advised her to “drain” her account and with the funds to purchase Google Play cards. After she purchased the cards the caller went on to say someone would contact her with further instructions which included to cash the Google Play cards and where to meet to exchange the cash.
Following these instructions, the young lady did withdraw all of her funds from her account and converted them into $1,200 worth of Google Play cards getting 12 $100 cards. That’s when she decided to go to the police station to get advice from the chief.
It just so happened that as she was with Hennigan the scammer called her back. Instead of her answering her cell phone she handed it to Hennigan saying it was the officer from the Lubbock PD calling. When Hennigan answered the phone, the caller asked him who was he speaking with whereupon Hennigan told him, “the Denver City Chief of Police.” At that point the caller hung up and has not called again.
“It was just a fluke that the young lady happened to be in the PD when the scammer called back,” Hennigan said. “Apparently he didn’t want to visit with the DC Chief of Police,” he added with a grin on his face.
Hennigan noted the scammers are very good about getting all of your personal information including date of birth, phone number, address, and Social Security numbers. “Plus they sound very authorized, like they really are who they claim to be.”
He also said be aware of someone with a foreign accent.
Should you receive a suspicious call it’s important to report phone scams to Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-382-4357. They can’t investigate individual cases, but your report can help them collect evidence for lawsuits against scammers.
Here are some helpful hints you need to do should you receive a call from a scammer:
Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You may register online or by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you still receive telemarketing calls after registering, there’s a good chance that the calls are scams.
Be wary of callers claiming that you’ve won a prize or vacation package.
Hang up on suspicious phone calls.
Be cautious of caller ID. Scammers can change the phone number that shows up on your caller ID screen. This is called “spoofing.”
Independently research business opportunities, charities, or travel packages being offered by the caller.
Don’t give in to pressure to take immediate action.
Don’t say anything if a caller starts the call asking, “Can you hear me?” This is a common tactic for scammers to record you saying “yes.” Scammers record your “yes” response and use it as proof that you agreed to a purchase or credit card charge.
Don’t provide your credit card number, bank account information, or other personal information to a caller.
Don’t send money if a caller tells you to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card.
Banking scams involve attempts to access your bank account. Some popular banking scams include:
Overpayment scams – A scam artist sends you a counterfeit check. They tell you to deposit it in your bank account, and wire part of the money back to them. Since the check was fake, you’ll have to pay your bank the amount of the check, plus you’ll lose any money you wired.
Unsolicited check fraud – A scammer sends you a check for no reason. If you cash it, you may be authorizing the purchase of items or signing up for a loan you didn’t ask for.
Automatic withdrawals – A company sets up an automatic debit from your bank account, as part of a free trial or to collect lottery winnings.
Phishing – You receive an email message that asks you to verify your bank account or debit card number.
Other scammers might identify themselves as being from a charity, ticket scams for popular concerts, plays, and sporting events, lottery and sweepstakes, pyramid schemes, investment scams, census related fraud, and the list goes on.
Remember, if it appears to be too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.