Don’t Get Fooled
(Bridgeport, CT – April 1, 2014) – Don’t get fooled.
A variety of telephone scams involving people looking to separate you from your hard earned money continue around the country.
Of late, the Bridgeport Police Department has often been receiving several complaints each day, and wants to again ask the public to exercise caution and good judgment.
“People work hard for their money and there are people who work equally hard to take it away from them,” said Detective Frank Podpolucha, of the financial crimes unit. “But instead of snatching a purse, these people spend all day on the phone trying to dupe people out of thousands of dollars.”
The scams come in a variety of forms:
- Scammers call and tell the intended victim that a relative was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was being held “hostage” until the victim sends money to cover the repairs. This has been a popular scam of late in Bridgeport.
- Scammers call and tell the intended victims that they won a lottery or sweepstakes but before they can collect their winnings, they need to make a payment associated with taxes or other fees.
- Scammers have been calling businesses claiming to be from the utility company. The caller claims the owner has a balance of thousands of dollars and states that the power company will turn off electricity if payment isn’t immediately made.
In the power company scam, the calls often are made to restaurants right before the lunch rush, creating a false sense of urgency to avoid a loss of electricity.
An emerging theme is the scammers demanding any payments be made through the purchase of a Green Dot prepaid debit card. Victims are then given instructions to provide the card’s 14-digit security code to the caller over the phone. With the code the scammer can easily withdraw money from the card. The cards can be found at local convenience stores, pharmacies and major retailers.
“The reality is that people do fall for these scams,” said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. “Each of these scammers probably make hundreds of these phone calls every single day hoping to find that one person who will believe them. This is their full-time job and they can be convincing.”