The Eden Prairie Police Department blog provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about the people who work there — their stories, their lives, their work in Eden Prairie and their thoughts on topics from driving to dogs.
Slam the Scam Day
The U.S. Social Security Administration has declared today “Slam the Scam” Day as a way to warn Americans about widespread phone scams where callers impersonate government officials, most often Social Security, to gain a victim’s trust and steal their money.
Since January 1, EPPD Dispatch has fielded 30 calls for scams or attempted scams. In the past five days, the department has heard from five residents who have received a call or email attempting to scam them into giving out Social Security numbers or providing money to the scammers to “fix a problem” with their Social Security accounts.
In a typical case, the scammer calls a victim and pretends to be from the Social Security Administration. The caller claims that the victim’s Social Security number has been suspended or that their number is being used by criminals. The caller then tells the victim that they must pay money to clear their number and/or avoid arrest. Scammers often ask for the payment to be made in gift cards. The victim purchases a gift card, scratches off the pin number and provides that info to the scammer.
Scammers can be very persuasive and use tactics that prey on people’s fears and vulnerabilities. They spoof caller ID numbers and names to appear legitimate and make threats that sound credible. The best advice is to hang up immediately. No government agency, including the Social Security Administration, will contact you by phone and demand immediate payment.
While the EPPD investigates all reports of scams, the majority of cases do not get solved as it is difficult to identify suspects who are not using their real names and often live outside of the U.S. The phone numbers used to perpetrate the scams are quickly disconnected or are associated with throwaway phones that cannot be traced. Once thieves receive the money, it is spent immediately before victims have a chance to realize what happened.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the EPPD at 952-949-6200.