The Grandparent Scam: A person calls an elderly individual pretending to be a grandchild needing money to get out of a dangerous or scary situation, like an arrest in a different country. These scam artists are very convincing and work in teams (as the grandchild and a lawyer). They exploit the love grandparents have for their grandchildren and require immediate payment by wire transfer or gift card purchases. Here is what the scam looks like:
-hang up immediately, confirm with the whereabouts of grandchildren with other family members. Do not answer when the scam artist calls back.
Sweepstakes Scams: These scams claim the recipient has won, or is about to win, a large cash prize. They convince the recipient in order to claim the winnings they must pay money, often under the guise of paying the tax. The scam artist requests a wire transfer or gift cards.
-hang up immediately, if you haven't entered into any sweepstakes, it's unlikely you have randomly won
-in MN, it is illegal to request payment in order to disperse sweepstakes winnings
IRS Tax Scams: The victim receives a call from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and claims the victim owes taxes. If they do not pay the taxes, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. The scam artist requires immediate payment in the form of wire transfer or gift cards. Traditionally, the IRS does not call people to request payment of taxes UNLESS they have already been working with someone and that person is aware they owe taxes (usually several thousand dollars or more).
-hang up immediately, the IRS communicates via mail regarding tax information and they do not accept payment in the form of gift cards
For more information on common scams, visit the web site of the MN Attorney General.
If you have been the victim of a scam, please report this to the police department.
Fraud takes many forms. Here are a few of the more commons forms of fraud:
Nigerian Letter or "419" Fraud- A person receives a letter, email, or social media message from Nigeria which offers the recipient the "opportunity" to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author- a self proclaimed government official-is trying to transfer illegally out of the Nigeria.
Ponzi Schemes- The promise of high financial returns or dividends not available through traditional investments. Instead of investing the funds, the con artist pays "dividends" to the initial investors using the funds of subsequent investors.
Pyramid Schemes- Similar to Ponzi schemes, the newer money collected from victims is paid to earlier victims. The victims themselves then recruit further victims through the payment of recruitment commissions.
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, please contact the police department.