Recently a Eugene resident called Eugene Police to report losing $15,000 to scammers. He reached out to ask if Eugene Police could send out information to the public so no one else would be victimized.
In late May, the victim received an email that looked like it came from PayPal, including with a logo. The email asked him to approve a $500 charge or cancel the charge, providing a 1-888 number to call. He called the number as he hadn’t made any charges recently. While he was on the line with the ‘representative,’ he was told there were other pending charges. The ‘representative’ also said the victim’s phone was compromised, so he would call and report it for the victim. The victim stayed on the line to be connected with his ‘credit union representative.’ Eventually the victim got rushed and scared into moving his credit union’s balance into a ‘protected, encrypted’ account, and advised a fraud team would start an investigation. This account was actually a Bitcoin machine wallet located at a liquor store on W. 11th. The money is untraceable and there is no chance to recover the money. Case 22-08075
This is not the first time, Eugene Police Department has seen the scam. A Eugene woman was contacted earlier in May by a scammer text pretending to be from “Paypal security.” She was warned there was a problem with a recent transaction, which she had not made. When she called the number provided, the person at the other end advised they were transferring her on a secure line to her bank. While speaking with the ‘bank’ she was asked to download a program allowing the scammer remote access to her computer. The person on the other end of the line then went looking around her computer for ‘problems’ and said there was a pending charge for $30,000 in Bitcoin. She was advised to go to a Bitcoin ATM and deposit $30,000 into an account and provide photos of the receipt. She lost $30,000.
It is important to note a bank would never ask you to do this. Scammers are using texts and emails night and day with links and phone numbers. Do not call them back or click on the link. If you are concerned, please contact your bank or credit card companies using their verified numbers on your statements.
There are so many scams out there. Many scams try to alarm you or scare you. Others just prey on your situation. Don’t be fooled. A list of scams is provided on EPD’s website (https://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/View/59589/Scams-and-Fraud-EPD-Website-1-1-21?bidId=). 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.
The Eugene Police Department would like to remind people to follow their instincts and never feel embarrassed about confirming the identity of a caller. This can be accomplished by contacting the represented agency directly via a published contact phone number and asking to speak with the individual directly or confirm the information with the agency’s non-emergency phone number.
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, credit card numbers 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 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, it probably is.