(Editor’s note: The following information was provided by WHPS Director Ray McCoy)
West Hennepin Public Safety has recently received several reports of suspicious calls and emails to the citizens of Independence.
The callers are contacting victims through a variety of telephone scams. The caller will identify themselves as a grandchild, that they were in a car accident or some other mishap in a foreign country or in the United States and they need money.
The caller will have those answering the phone speak with a police officer or sergeant who will come on the line and confirm the grandchild is in jail and needs money to get out of jail. The imposter police officer will instruct victims to get a money gram or money order, state the dollar amount and where to send it.
Citizens are also receiving email scams stating a friend or family member’s wallet was stolen, cannot pay for the hotel and needs money for airline tickets. They will create any type of situation that a ‘friend or relative’ needs money to get victims to respond back to their request and send money.
Do not send any money. Do not respond. People will not see their money again nor get it back.
All of these callers sound very legitimate, are friendly and nice, they are not. They want people to believe their false, untrue story and send them money. A caller became very nasty, upset and yelling on the phone to a citizen who said she was not going to send the money as he was a scammer. He called back several times demanding the money.
There are many variations and scams used to exploit victims’ identities and accounts including suspects stating they are representing the lottery, an inheritance, social security and the IRS.
West Hennepin Public Safety would like to remind citizens to:
• Do not give any personal information over the phone. That includes a date of birth, social security or bank numbers.
• Hang up on callers that are asking for information.
• Do not respond back to email requests.
• If anyone is concerned with a banking account, contact the bank directly for any questions.
• Immediately contact West Hennepin Public Safety and report the call.
West Hennepin Public Safety warns its citizens that anyone can be a potential victim. Citizens should use the utmost precaution in dealing with people wanting information over the telephone.
If anyone feels they are a victim of this type of crime they should immediately notify West Hennepin Public Safety at 763-479-0500.