Police warn residents, businesses to be alert to phone scams

Police warn residents, businesses to be alert to phone scams
Posted on 08/09/2016

The Redlands Police Department is warning residents and local businesses to be alert to telephone scams after several recent reports, including callers who identified themselves as law enforcement officers demanding payment to clear outstanding warrants.

Over the past week, Redlands Police received two reports from residents who reported receiving telephone calls from someone claiming to be a police officer with warrants for the person’s arrest. The caller tells the victim to send money through a reloadable prepaid cash card.

Law enforcement officers will never call your residence to serve a warrant nor demand direct payment from you to clear an outstanding warrant. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer, ask for a callback number and then verify that number and the officer’s identity with your local police department.

In a separate recent scam a caller to a local business identified himself as a representative for a utility company and informed the employee answering the phone that their service would be disconnected that day. The caller provided a customer service number to call to avoid service interruption. The person answering the phone at the customer service number informed them that the business’s account was in arrears and demanded payment over the phone. The employee refused to make the payment and, after hanging up, looked up the utility’s actual customer service number where they confirmed that the call was a scam.

While many scams frequently repeat familiar schemes, scammers are creative in their attempts to persuade victims to send money. Be wary of any effort to collect a bill or settle a fine over the telephone. If you are contacted by someone claiming to represent a company or agency regarding an alleged financial obligation, ask for a callback number. Verify the number and call the company or agency directly.

Residents and business owners are reminded never to provide financial information such as credit card numbers or check routing numbers over the telephone unless you are certain of the caller’s identity Report any suspicious phone calls or activities to the Redlands Police Department.

The FBI also provides a list of common fraud schemes on the agency’s website at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes.