State Police warning area residents about scams
The Pennsylvania State Police reminds the public to stay vigilant about others seeking personal information by phone or internet.
Today we have received a call from a community member advising an unknown person identified themselves as a Sergeant of the Pennsylvania State Police. This unknown person attempted to obtain information about another member of their family.
“We’ve seen successful, educated people send their life’s savings to someone they had never met in person because they thought they were in love,” said Major David Relph, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “And once that money is sent, it is almost impossible to get it back. These scammers typically operate in foreign countries, making it exceedingly difficult to track them down.”
The Pennsylvania State Police offers the following reminders to prevent scams:
Never wire money to someone you have not met in person. Scammers use wire transfer services like Western Union because the transactions are difficult to trace. Other methods include pre-paid credit cards and gift cards.
Take it slow. Remember someone just calling you about a family member may be attempting to gain personal information about you or someone you may know.
Talk to your family and friends. A scammer will likely come up with a reason why the relationship must be kept secret. A trusted friend or relative may be able to offer valuable perspective and spot red flags you have missed.
Do your research. Scammers will often use stolen pictures and information to create their online persona. A simple internet search may yield multiple profiles with similar photos and information.
Trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t feel right. If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, report it to police.
Some of the top reported scams are as followed:
Adoption Fraud, Business and Investment Fraud, Business Email Compromise, Charity and Disaster Fraud, Consumer Fraud, Elder Fraud, Election Crimes and Security,
Health Care Fraud, Holiday Scams, Money Mule, Ransomware, Romance Scams, Sextortion Scams, Skimming, and Spoofing and Phishing. These are just some of the top fraud and scam topics being used.
“People fail to report these types of crimes because they are embarrassed or ashamed, but simply stopping the flow of cash isn’t enough,” said Major Relph. “Once they have gained access to personal or sensitive information, scammers have been known to continue targeting their victims through blackmail and identity theft.”
According to the FBI, Americans lost $197 million to romance scams and similar frauds in 2015. For more information about the Pennsylvania State Police, visit www.psp.pa.gov.