Money Scams

Money Scams

A number of money scams occur on a regular basis and involve losses that reach into thousands of dollars. Typical scams include a false lottery, an Internet purchase, a money-making offer, or other money exchange. There is little to no protection for victims of these scams. Several commonly seen scams:

  1. Foreign lotteries: A person receives notification of winning a foreign lottery and is sent an advance of the winnings in cashier's check. The "winner" is asked to deposit the check into a bank account and wire money to the person who sent the check. The wire transfer takes place before the check is found to be counterfeit. The person who deposited the check is responsible for the wired money, which is typically thousands of dollars.
  2. Relative needs monetary assistance: Someone claiming to be a relative calls in need of monetary assistance because they are in jail or have been in an accident. Money wired by the victim usually goes to another country, and the victim learns the person who made the call is not a relative.
  3. Bank or credit card company impersonation: A person claiming to be a personal bank or credit card company representative calls and asks for account or personal information over the phone for verification. The information is used to make purchases or open new accounts.
  4. Call forwarding: An inmate calls collect and tricks a person into dialing a number starting with *72, which activates call forwarding. This gives control of the victim's phone to the inmate, who can now can make long-distance phone calls or rack up fees for 900 numbers on the phone bill.
  5. Voter surveys: A person is asked to take voter survey to get a free cruise. Once the survey is complete, the scammer asks for a debit or credit card number for port fees.
  6. Utility bill assistance: A caller explains that the president has approved special funding through the Federal Reserve Bank to help pay utility bills and asks for a Social Security number. Once the number is provided, the caller gives the victim a fake bank routing number to pay the utility bill.
  7. Free gift cards: A scammer offers a free $1,000 gift card through a text message link. When the link is clicked, a website comes up requesting personal information that can be used to steal one's identity. 

Protect against these scams:

  1. If a check is received, it is best to not deposit the check or respond to the offer. If one decides to participate, do not wire any funds to anyone until after the cashier’s check has cleared.
  2. Keep in mind that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Secret shopper offers do not require one to wire money to the business that has solicited help.
  4. Never provide personal information to anyone over the phone. Bank and credit card companies already know this information and would not be calling to verify it.
  5. Check the Internet for information. Several legitimate websites provide the latest about these scams and list other scams that may not have not been mentioned here.

Determine the offer's validity:

  1. When contacted by email, many senders are from foreign countries and do not use proper spelling or grammar.
  2. Use Internet search engines to verify information sent in an email. Search names, addresses, or phone numbers provided in the offer.

Tale preventative measures to avoid becoming a victim of frauds and identity thefts:

  1. Check credit reports on a regular basis.
  2. Enroll in identity theft protection plans with bank or credit card companies.
  3. Check bank and credit card accounts regularly for unauthorized purchases credited on accounts.

If contacted for or been a victim of these or any other scams, contact the Mankato Department of Public Safety to report the incident.

  1. Visit the following resources for more information:

For more information or questions, contact Detective Commander Matt DuRose.