Beware of Scammers

Beware of Scammers
Posted on 09/16/2020

The New Hope Police Department is investigating a number of cases of scammers posing as family members, government agencies and online businesses in order to steal large amounts of money from victims. These scammers may reach out via phone, email, text, social media or even postal mail.

We urge residents to protect their money and their identity by not sharing personal information like bank account numbers, social security numbers, or birth dates and not withdrawing or wiring money based on scare tactics.

Look for these tell-tale signs of a scam
Scammers are always reinventing ways to prey on their victims. The following tips from the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General will help you learn to spot a scam.

  • You are contacted out of the blue
    Scam artists fake invoices, phony debt collection notices, and spam emails in hopes that unsuspecting consumers will pay before checking their records. Never send money or provide any personal information to unknown or unfamiliar people or entities.
  • You are required to send money upfront in order to receive a prize
    Legitimate companies never require someone to pay money upfront to receive a prize.
  • You are asked to send money via a wire transfer or “reload pack”
    Scammers often instruct consumers to send money by wire transfer or reloadable money packs. Sending money in these forms is the same as sending cash- it is nearly untraceable and once sent, it is generally gone for good.
  • You are asked to provide personal or financial information
    Banks, government agencies and legitimate companies only ask consumers to provide personal information in rare circumstances and don’t do so by phone, email or text message. Scam artists impersonate these entities and use deceptive messages to lure consumers into providing private information so they can use it to commit fraud. Never provide your private information in response to an unsolicited call, email or text message. Instead, call the entity at the number listed on its website or on the back of your card.
  • You are asked to keep a secret
    Scam artists may ask consumers not to tell anyone about the situation so that the consumer doesn’t get advice from someone who might detect the scam. If you are asked to keep a transaction a secret, you should do the opposite—immediately contact trusted family members or friends to investigate the situation and get their opinion.
  • You are asked to act quickly
    Scam artists may say that there is a limited time to act in order to get people to pay money before they have time to think the situation through.
  • You receive payment in the form of a cashier’s check or money order
    Scam artists can create counterfeit checks and money orders that look remarkably authentic. After your financial institution cashes a check or money order, it generally has up to two weeks to reverse the transaction. If the check or money order ultimately ends up being counterfeit, your financial institution will probably hold you responsible for any portion of the funds that were used or sent back to the scam artist.
  • It sounds too good to be true
    If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What do I do if I think I’m being targeted by a scam or am the victim of one?
If you encounter a potential scammer, believe you are being scammed or are contacted by anyone requesting you withdraw large sums of money from your bank account, call 911 and do NOT follow the scammer’s instructions.

Remember the following:

  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.” If something doesn’t seem right, tell the person you’re not interested. Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, or to not respond to future calls, text messages or emails from the person. Hanging up isn’t bad manners if you think you’re being scammed.
  • Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor for their opinion. Scam artists don’t have your best interests in mind. Asking a trusted friend, family member or neighbor about the situation may help you spot the scam and save you from being victimized.
  • Don’t be rushed. If you are pressured to act quickly, take time to think things through. If an offer is good today, it will usually be available tomorrow.
  • When in doubt, don’t give it out. If you question who is contacting you, don’t give them any private information. Scam artists can use personal and financial information to steal your identity, drain your bank accounts, and open lines of credit in your name. If in doubt, don’t give your information out.
  • Research the offer. A simple Internet search can sometimes yield a lot of information, including consumer reviews, complaints, and other postings.

Additional information
The Office of the Minnesota Attorney General has a number of resources about identity theft, protecting personal information, scams and schemes on its website.