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Community Awareness: Phone Scams and How to Avoid Them

Phone scams are becoming more and more prevalent these days. Take for example the recent cases detailed below. Please be alert for possible phone scams and how you can avoid them by following the enclosed tips provided by the Surfside Police Department.
Phone Scam 1:
A resident recently received a phone call in which the caller claimed to be her grandson, and that he is being held in jail and needs bail money immediately.  
Phone Scam 2:
Another scam involved a hoaxer claiming to have lost a wallet and ID, or have been left stranded, and in need of money. 
In most cases, the scammer attempts to trick the person into thinking he or she has a loved one in trouble. They may call on the phone, send a text message or email, or even send messages on social media about a supposed emergency involving a relative or a friend, and then request that money be sent right away. Oftentimes, in an attempt to give validity to the invented story, they may claim to be an authority figure such as a lawyer or police officer, and even guess at facts about you or your loved one. The imposters may insist that you keep quiet about their demand for money to keep you from confirming the story. Despite any urgency attached to the message, it is a scam.  

In the event of a phone scam, the Surfside Police Department shares the following tips:
  • Check it out before you act. Look up that friend or family’s phone number yourself.
  • Call them or another family member to see what’s happening. Even if the person who contacted you told you not to.
  • Do not pay. Do not wire money, send a check, overnight a money order, or pay with a gift card or cash reload card.
  • Anyone who demands payment in these ways is always a scammer. These payment methods are like giving cash — and nearly untraceable, unless you act almost immediately.
  • If you sent money to a family emergency scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (wire transfer service, bank, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction.
  • Ask to have the transaction reversed, if possible.
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Surfside Police Department at 305.861.4862.  For emergencies, please call 911.