The Minnesota Department of Commerce is warning Minnesotans about a phone scam recently reported to the agency in which the scammer poses as a law enforcement investigator who pretends to be working on an identity theft case involving the victim.
The fake investigator says he needs the victim’s assistance to catch the thief and asks the victim to withdraw money from a bank account to give to him. The only problem: The fake investigator is the real thief.
“Scam artists will try every trick in the book to gain people’s trust and steal their money, but it’s especially disturbing when they pose as law enforcement officials,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Anyone can be a victim of a scam, so it’s important for everyone to be vigilant.”
Rothman offers the following tips for Minnesotans to protect themselves against phone scams:
- Never give out your personal or financial information over the phone.
- Be suspicious of any call from a stranger asking you to give them money, even if they claim to be with a law enforcement or government agency.
- If you get a call from someone who claims to be a law enforcement official and is making an unusual request, ask for their name and agency. Call the agency directly (not the phone number they might give you) to confirm that they are who they say they are.
- Don’t trust caller ID, because it can be easily “spoofed” to show a fake name or number.
- Use common sense. If something doesn’t sound or feel right, it probably isn’t.
If you believe you may have been the victim of a scam or fraud, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).