Portland Police Warn of Active Phone Scam in Portland
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Officers have received reports from people who state that callers would claim to be members of a police department or sheriff's department and that the victim missed jury duty, had outstanding fines, or a warrant for their arrest that could be taken care of over the phone with a payment.
Other victims have reported callers claiming to be public utilities, the IRS, charities and home repair companies.
Police warn that some scams will include spoofing a legitimate police agency phone number and using a real name of a law enforcement officer in an attempt to gain the trust of the victim.
Callers typically instruct the victims to purchase re-loadable cars and call them back with numbers. Recent scam callers have asked for iTunes gift cars be used as payment.
Portland Police Offer Tips
The Portland Police Bureau gives the following tips:
* The Portland Police Bureau or any other legitimate law enforcement agency does not call community members seeking payment for outstanding traffic citations or warrants. This includes claims of unpaid federal or state taxes.
* The Portland Police Bureau does not call individuals and demand money from community members under any circumstances.
* Individuals claiming to collect debts may try to instill fear in potential victims to persuade them to forward money.
MoneyPak/Green Dot and Vanilla Reload have online tools to allow purchasers to request a refund if the scammer has not yet cashed the card.
If you are a resident of Portland and fall victim to these scammers with financial loss, you are encouraged to file a report by calling the Portland Police Bureau's Non-Emergency line at (503) 823-3333.
Tips to help avoid becoming a victim to this scam include:
* Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller or email.
* Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
* Stay private. Regularly update privacy settings for social media sites. Scammers often make their stories more believable by trolling for personal information on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites.
* Utility companies and government agencies will never contact you for payment by GreenDot, MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload.
* Remember that anyone who has the number on a prepaid card has access to the funds on your card.
* Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers to a stranger.
The Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) advises that courts may use an independent collection service to collect unpaid monetary judgments and fines. If someone believes they are being scammed regarding an alleged unpaid traffic citation or other court-imposed financial obligation they can:
* Ask the collector (caller) for information specific to the alleged warrant or unpaid traffic citation. The caller should have the court case number, date of ticket and vehicle license number.
* Verify the debt or confirm other details by calling the OJD collections hotline at 1-888-564-2828.
* Use OJD Courts ePay to directly pay money owed to state courts for most traffic citations, civil fees or criminal fines (For more information click here.)
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