Community Roll Call

Members of the Wauwatosa Police Department's Community Support Division, with backup provided by the folks at, 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.

National Scam

Scam, Suspicious

As originally posted under Business Blogs from the blog of Thomas Content of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 07/10/12.!page=2&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

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Counterfeit U.S. Currency Reported in Wauwatosa

Business Watch, Counterfeit Money, Crime Prevention, Crime Alert, Scam

The passing of counterfeit U.S. Currency has been reported in Wauwatosa. Business owners and employees alike should be on the lookout for counterfeit paper bills that are being passed as genuine.

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E-Mails Containing Malware Sent to Businesses Concerning Their Online Job Postings

Business Watch, Internet Safety, Scam, Security

This comes directly from the FBI Website.

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Scams Still Exist


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.

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Email Scam

Scam, Internet

Just today I received an email from a very good friend of mine who lives on the east coast; anytime I get an email from him I drop what I am doing and take a look. Well much to my surprise it was an email with the subject of “Emergency” telling me how he was in Madrid and after an unfortunate circumstance he needed $2,000 to help with meals, clothing and travel back home. I double checked the incoming email address and confirmed it was his exact address but knowing him as well as I do, I knew he wasn’t in Madrid. I immediately texted him to tell him to check his email because I thought it had been pirated by someone running a scam in his name. I was not the first to bring this to his attention and in fact his account had been hacked and his internet service provider was working on correcting the problem and restoring his account; although he did offer to accept the $2,000 if I wanted to give it!


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Fax Scam

Crime Prevention, Scam

An employee of the City received a fax at work that was seen for what it is, a scam. The heading is "Charity Foudation" and originates from Mother Helena Daline. The fax goes on to explain she is a childless widow on her deathbed and is looking for someone to manage her nearly ten million dollar estate once she passes and promises one million dollars if you are willing to help.

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Person Impersonating a Fire Inspector

Crime Prevention, Identity Theft, Scam, Suspicious, Theft

Recently a person has taken cash from several businesses in the greater Milwaukee area by impersonating a Fire Inspector. He arrives at the door and verbally identifies himself as the Fire Inspector and states he needs to check fire extinguishers. He is allowed into the business and left unescorted and not long after he leaves the business discovers that he has taken cash that is left in an unlocked safe or otherwise unlocked and unattended.

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Scams Are Alive And Well


We continue to receive complaints from residents who are being scammed out of their personal information and in some cases money. 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.
Written by Patrol Specialist II Paul Leist, Wauwatosa Police Department 

Nigerian Scam

Crime Prevention, Scam

  Unfortunately many people of various socio-economical backgrounds fall victim to scams. I am the first to admit I am no expert as to what is happening in today’s world as it relates to scams. That being said, a colleague of mine, Officer Joel Dhein of the Glendale, WI Police Department is a bit more versed on this topic than I am. Officer Dhein hosts a weekly podcast called "Police On The Scene With A Crime Prevention Lean". Recently Officer Dhein called South Africa regarding a popular Nigerian Scam. Please go to, on the right hand side you will see what looks like a green MP3 player, click on episode 87 and it will play right in that window.

 An upfront warning, this is about a 15 minute audio presentation and you will have to listen very closely, maybe even rewinding some portions of the audio because of the other persons heavy accent.

Gift Card Scam / Theft

Crime Prevention, Scam, Theft

There is a way the "Bad Guys" are scamming us on gift cards, even before we purchase them. How are they doing that? Well, some stores elect to have their gift cards on racks or hooks where you just pull them off and have the cashier charge them up with an amount. In stores like that the "Bad Guys" are writing down serial numbers off of the cards on the rack and they can later retrieve a balance by using the store's customer service telephone number. And to make matters worse, they can use the gift card online just by having that serial number they copied earlier and a known balance provided by the store.

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