Stop scammers in their tracks

During the Aug. 12 City Council meeting, Deputy Burrell spoke about the recent uptick in scams—coming through telephone, email, or text—bilking people out of their money. Imposters claiming to work for a government agency or law enforcement, or a similar organization known and trusted by most, request payments in the form of gift cards of electronic fund transfers (such as Apple Pay). If these transfers of money are made, the unfortunate payees will likely never see their money refunded.  

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department, or any police department for that matter, will never call you on the phone to demand money for a fine. If you get a call like this, please hang up and report the call to the police.

What you can do to protect yourself against imposters: 

• Be suspicious of any call from a government agency asking for money or information. Government agencies don’t call you with threats or promises of—or demands for—money. Scammers do. 

• Don’t trust caller ID—it can be faked. Even if it might look like a real call, don’t trust it. 

• Never pay with a gift card or wire transfer. If someone tells you to pay this way, it’s a scam. 

• Check with the real agency. Look up their number. Call them to find out if they’re trying to reach you—and why. 

• Before you give up money or information, talk to someone you trust. Scammers want you to make decisions in a hurry. Slow down, check out the story, search online—or just tell a friend. People who talk to someone—anyone—are much less likely to fall for a scam.

If you spot something that looks like a scam, report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice. This and more information can be found at ftc.gov/scams.

 

— Gretchen Needham, Editor

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