The Community Engagement Team want the public to be on the lookout for phone scams, and criminals who might be taking advantage of unsuspecting victims. Many people are at home during the pandemic, which means they are more likely to answer the phone. Criminals understand the current situation and will use every opportunity to prey on vulnerable victims.
Last week, CET received information of a phone scam where the caller had the person’s name and address, and said they wanted to deliver a check from Publisher’s Clearing House, after initially mentioning it was a stimulus check. This is a variation on other scams where the caller is impersonating a representative from an agency with the prospect of gaining information or payment from the person being scammed. This situation could have been extremely dangerous if not for the victim being aware and recognizing the true nature of the incident.
There are so many scams out there. Many scams try to alarm you or scare you. Others just prey on your situation, or the vulnerability caused by an incident or event such as the pandemic. A list of scams is provided on EPD’s website (http://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/View/11128). This document covers some of the most common scams we’ve seen in our area, but new ones are popping-up all the time. It is easy to get taken in, even if you are usually suspicious of scams.
If you receive a phone call and recognize that the call is a scam, please hang up immediately and report the information to www.ic3.gov
If you are the victim of a scam and have incurred a loss, please call the EPD non-emergency at 541.682.5111.
These cases provide an opportunity for a reminder on how to avoid becoming the victim of fraud. Scams are cyclical in nature. Eugene Police recommend to remain careful and skeptical of callers:
•If someone asks you for your cash, gift cards, credit card numbers, security log-ins, or other personal information (especially if you don’t know them well), the safest move is to refuse their request and check with the police, or find an independent way to contact a legitimate business and follow up rather than responding right away to the caller.
•Don’t give out computer or phone log-ins, personal or financial information to someone who calls you. If you are unsure, hang up and independently find the phone number of the alleged represented agency and call yourself. A law enforcement agency will not ask you for this type of information or request that money be sent by way of money order for any reason.
•Beware of high pressure techniques, such as the need to give information or make a decision on the spot.
•If it sounds quirky or weird, or too good to be true, it probably is.