The released a crime alert Tuesday detailing some scams that have been reported by Richfield and metro area residents. While anyone can become the victim of a scam, many of the scams are being directed toward seniors, according to the report.
The reported scams include:
- Being contacted by phone, letter or e-mail that you have won a lottery or special prize;
- Receiving a call from a young person claiming to be a grandchild who has been put in jail and asking for money to be released;
- The "Nigerian Scam" where residents receive letters from supposed Nigerian princes, doctors or chiefs asking for bank account information to transfer money into the U.S.;
- Receiving fraudulent money orders asking you to cash it at your bank;
- Secret shopper scams where you receive checks from fake companies asking you to cash them and wire the money through a check-cashing outlet to evaluate the cashing services;
- Health Care and Insurance frauds offering free products or services.
In cases involving check cashing, the check typically bounces at the bank and the victims are held liable for the money.
In order to help residents not fall victim to scams, Public Safety has also released tips to help avoid the scams.
For medical scams:
- Never sign a blank insurance claim forms or give authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered;
- Carefully review your explanation of benefits statements and call your provider if you have questions;
- Do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you medical equipment or services are free;
- Ask your medical providers for information on what they charge for services and what you will be expected to pay yourself;
- Only give your insurance or Medicare identification to those who have actually provided you with medical services.
You can further protect yourself from becoming an easy target of scam artists by guarding all your personal information. Other Police tips are:
- Send your mail from the post office;
- Tear out mailing labels and shred documents;
- Reduce the number of credit cards you have;
- Never give out your bank account or credit card information over the phone, unless you placed the call or know whom you are doing business with;
- Know your credit card billing cycles and monitor your statements;
- Check your credit report regularly.
- Lastly, if it sounds to good to be true … it is.
For additional questions or information, call Richfield Public Safety Department's Jill Mecklenburg at 612-861-9845 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.