POLICE OFFICER CALLING YOUR HOUSE ASKING FOR MONEY? NO!

There is a fairly new scam happening here in central Minnesota, and there are some major cues to let you know what you're dealing with. This time, however; they are pretending to be actual law enforcement officers from our area.

I spoke with Commander Lori Ellinger at the St. Cloud Police Department yesterday, and she told me that they are using REAL names of people who are, or who HAVE BEEN in law enforcement, hoping that it will tip the scales in their favor.

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SCAMMERS ARE PUSHY PUSHY PUSHY!

Residents of central Minnesota receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a deputy or police officer. They use a legitimate officer's name, and then proceed to inform the individual that they have some type of warrant issued, and that they need to pay or they'll be arrested.

They are very convincing. They will ask for a lot of personal information. This could be your address or your social security number, and they ARE going to ask you to pay them. They are very pushy. Many people fear going to jail and are afraid to question the individual on the phone, so they give the scammer information that they otherwise would not give out to anyone.

Photo by Kanchanara on Unsplash
Photo by Kanchanara on Unsplash
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BITCOIN AND GIFT CARDS

If you've been convinced thus far that this is indeed, an actual law enforcement officer, this is the BIG clue that should let you know they are not.

The scammer will eventually get around to demanding payment, and ask you to pay them in either Bitcoin or gift cards. Anytime someone calls you and asks for payment this way, it's a scam; whether or not they say they are a police officer is irrelevant. No legitimate company anywhere will ask for payments like this.

Photo by Ayrus Hill on Unsplash
Photo by Ayrus Hill on Unsplash
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TIPS TO AVOID FALLING FOR THIS SCAM AND OTHERS

Here's the deal. Commander Ellinger wants you to know:

Police Officers and Law enforcement don't ask you for money. They WILL NOT call and solicit you for money, and they will not ask you for any type of payment in Bitcoin or gift cards.

Commander Ellinger had some great tips for you:

  1.  If you get a call from an unknown number, don't answer it. Let it go to voicemail.
  2. If you DO answer the phone and they claim to be from the St. Cloud Police Department, or other law enforcement office, ask them again for their name, then hang up the phone. Do your research and call your local police department and ask them if someone is trying to get ahold of them. They will quickly inform you that they ARE NOT reaching out by phone.
  3. It is NOT ILLEGAL to hang up the phone on a police officer. Remember, it's most likely NOT a law enforcement officer at all.

YOU WILL NOT GET ARRESTED FOR HANGING UP ON A POLICE OFFICER

These scammers are looking for as much information from you as possible; so if anyone calls and says something alarming to you, you are NOT required to be Minnesota Nice. Just...Hang...Up.

It's also a good idea to inform your local police department about the phone call you received. Any information you can give police may help them in tracking down scammers.

Commander Ellinger said it's very difficult to catch up with scammers, so they take the approach of informing the public to not fall for these scams in the first place. If you don't recognize the number, don't answer!

BE AWARE

Let's all be aware and protect ourselves from these scammers. If we don't fall for it, we can hopefully do away with scammers for good! Maybe wishful thinking, but only WE can prevent it. Never give out your information if someone is calling YOU.

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