From: Lieutenant Krag Campbell
Case or Incident: #N/A
The Juneau Police Department has been seeing an increase in community members reporting being the victim of gift card scams and elder fraud. This has resulted in a significant amount of lost money for these individuals.
Scams can come from a variety of places, but most often you will receive a phone call, email or even a text message.
Common fraud schemes:
- Tech support scam - Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues or renew antivirus software.
- Government scam- Criminals pose as police, IRS, or other government employees and threaten to arrest victims unless they agree to pay a fee.
- Family scam- Criminals pose as a friend or relative claiming to be in immediate financial need.
- Sweepstakes scam- Criminals claim the person won a sweepstake or contest they did not enter and can collect their winnings for a “small fee”.
How to tell if a call is real:
Companies may occasionally call you, sure. Even if you think a phone call might be real, you should take some precautions. Slow down and ask questions of the caller to get more information, including thee name of the person and company calling and a number you can call back. Legitimate businesses and charities will answer questions and give you time to consider a purchase or donation. Scam callers will pressure you to commit right away.
Once you have this, go online and find the organization’s official phone number on their website. If the scammer claims to be from the IRS, visit the IRS website. If the scammer claims to be from your bank, visit your bank’s website. If the scammer claims to be from your local utility company, visit that website. Call the phone number on the website and explain you were contacted by someone claiming to be from the organization. There’s a good chance you’ll be told you were just called by scammers.
Consider putting your phone number on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry. It won’t stop spam calls, but it will make them easier to spot because most legitimate telemarketers won’t call you if you’re on the registry.
How to protect yourself:
- Never give out personal identity information, bank account information, or wire transfer information to unverified people or businesses.
- Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action.
- Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, emails, and offers too good to be true.
- Gift cards cannot be used to pay utility bills, legal fees, taxes, or bail.
- Debt collectors will never request payment in gift cards, crypto currency, or cash sent through the mail.
- Don’t get scammed! Please report any of the above activity to the Juneau Police Department at juneaupolice.com or the FBI at www.Ic3.gov .
All factual allegations contained in this release are based upon preliminary investigation and are subject to change or clarification as the investigation continues. Any charges reported in this release are merely accusations and all persons named in this release are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.