Members of the Wauwatosa Police Department's Community Support Division, with backup provided by the folks at WauwatosaNow.com, are now blogging. We will be providing you with an ongoing series of crime prevention tips, any current crime trends as well as pertinent news and notes as it relates to your Police Department.
Scam artists remain persistent and are getting inventive in their approach. One constant remains however; unknowing victims are cooperating with those doing the scamming by responding to their suspicious solicitations.
Scam artists are becoming more popular and the reason is simple. Technology is making it very easy to get information to large groups of people, or in this case potential victims. Whether using e-mail, conventional mail, or the telephone, mass communication is easier than ever.
As mentioned earlier, the one constant in many of these incidents is the cooperation of the victim. The typical scenario goes like this…
A victim receives an automated telephone call from a scam artist claiming to be their bank. The message states that there has been an issue with the victim’s bank account and they need to call a toll free number to clarify the issue. Upon calling the toll free number the victim is prompted to enter a variety of information including; social security number, bank account number, and date of birth. Once the victim has entered their personal information the call is ended and the victim has effectively been scammed.
How can something like this happen? Very easily, by posing as a major bank they scammer is sure to find legitimate bank customers in the area. By contacting many people through mass calling systems, a percentage of those called will fall for the scam.
Similar scams occur via the U.S. Mail, through e-mail, and through in person telephone calls. Because many of these scam artists operate in different states and even different countries, prosecution is difficult. Therefore the best approach to these types of scams is prevention. Here are some things to consider:
· A financial institution will never solicit you for information they already have. If you do receive a solicitation regarding an existing account contact your local bank using an existing telephone number or stop by in person.
· Never give out your personal information unless you are dealing with a legitimate financial institution who you have done business with in the past.