Editor’s note: The following was provided by the Maple Grove Police Department.
Recently, the Maple Grove Police Department has received several reports from residents in regards to attempted phone scams. Unfortunately, some of the residents have fallen victim to this and the police would like to share some information avoid becoming a victim of these scams that affect so many people in the State of Minnesota.
The most commonly known scam is the grandparents scam. The con artist will impersonate a grandchild in distress that is in some form of trouble and needs money wired to them immediately in order to bail out of jail or to obtain transportation home from a foreign country. The con artist will ask the grandparent to not contact the parents out of embarrassment and express that the matter is too urgent to take the time to speak with any family members. The con artist will ask that money is wired to them immediately and request that they not tell anyone about. The caller exploits a grandparents love and generosity which is how the scam is conducted.
People should always resist the pressure to act quickly and refuse to send money through a wire transfer. People need to take the time to verify the caller’s identity by contacting that family member at a phone number known to be accurate and by speaking with their parents to verify if the phone call was legitimate or not.
Like the grandparents scam there are many scams out there that rely on you making fast and uninformed decisions. Maple Grove Police would like to offer the following suggestions to help protect people from becoming a victim.
• First, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
• If someone receives a phone call and are asked to “verify” any personal information over the phone, don’t. Any company that you do business with is rarely going to call you out of the blue to do this. If people contact them through a reputable phone number in order to conduct business then this won’t be an abnormal request.
• If someone gets an offer for a prize, but it requires them to front any money in order to receive it, then it’s a scam.
• If someone is receiving pressure from a salesperson or door to door solicitor, they should tell them they need to have it in writing and speak with a spouse, attorney, banker, etc. before making a choice or signing anything. This will allow time to make a decision away from the salesperson/solicitor or complete research to verify if what they are offering is legitimate.
• Talk with family members and create a code word. Then if someone receives a call from someone identifying themselves as family and they ask for money without providing the code word, they know it’s a scam.
Maple Grove Police asks that people take these steps to help protect themselves from falling victim to any type of phone scam. Call 911 immediately to report crime and any suspicious activity. If anyone has any questions you can contact Maple Grove Police Crime Prevention at 763-494-6134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.