LUBBOCK, Texas — The Lubbock Police Department said Tuesday officers routinely receive reports of scam calls and wanted the public to know how to reduce the risk.
Text messages, phone calls and emails are common ways scammers attempt to contact people, LPD told KLBK News. LPD told us that the elderly population is the most vulnerable, but the problem affects people of all demographics.
LPD recommended verifying the persons on the other end of phone calls, particularly when they ask for money or identify themselves as a bank or business.
The police department said you can hang up with the caller identifying as someone from your bank, and then call your bank back at the official or documented phone number.
“You can speak to that individual and say, ‘Hey, I received this phone call, they asked to verify this information, I want to make sure it was actually you who’s calling me,'” said LPD. “They’re going to be OK with that every time.”
The people who will not be OK with you hanging up and calling back are usually the scammers.
If the caller is angry or frustrated, they “probably are not being truthful about who they’re presenting themselves as,” LPD stated. “That’s not a customer service experience any company is putting forward.”
Another red flag to watch out for is when someone reaches out to you demanding payment in a rushed sense. LPD said, “Most people who are reputable are willing to wait or are not going to rush you into something like that.”
“If somebody does fall prey to a scam over the phone, once that money is gone, it is nearly impossible to get back,” LPD said. “Just because it’s really hard to find those individuals.”
Allison Matherly, the public information officer for LPD, said scammers are not usually local. They can be located anywhere in the world.
When the department receives reports of scams, they send the information over to their Property Crimes Unit. Matherly said if a lead is located within their jurisdiction, they will make an arrest.
When a lead is found outside of LPD’s jurisdiction, the department sends cases over to the jurisdiction where the individual is located to have them arrested. Depending on the amount of money taken in the scam, the cases can be moved to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Matherly shared.
“Cops will never call you and say ‘you have a warrant. If you don’t pay right this second, we’re going to arrest you,'” Matherly commented on a common type of scam recently reported to LPD.
Matherly said when you receive a call with a caller ID marked as “suspected spam,” or something of the like, do not answer it.
“Those numbers have already been identified by the phone carriers as being used to do scams,” LPD stated.
Matherly added, “If it is, for some reason, a mistake, because that does happen from time to time, they will leave a message.”
How to Recognize Phishing Scams
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “[Phishing] Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers or Social Security numbers.”
If they get that information, they will often try to access your bank, email or other accounts. They may also make fake accounts in your name, Matherly told KLBK News.
Phishing emails and texts may appear to be from a company you know and trust, like a bank, credit card company, social networking site or app, the FTC detailed.
The website also stated, “Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They may
- say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
- claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
- say you must confirm some personal information
- include a fake invoice
- want you to click on a link to make a payment
- say you’re eligible to register for a government refund
- offer a coupon for free stuff”
The FTC posted a real-world example of a phishing email:
“The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $57 million to phishing schemes in one year,” the FTC listed.
“We really recommend not giving that information over the phone unless you make that call yourself and know who it is you’re speaking to,” LPD explained.
If you’re unsure of the validity of a text, call or email
LPD said you should look at the email address for spelling errors, as those are indicators of fake companies.
“If the website says it’s Facebook, is it actually Facebook.com, or is it Facebooks.com?” LPD used as an example.
Or simply, “Ask someone you trust,” Matherly encouraged.
For more information on scammers, you can contact LPD at (806) 775-2865 or talk with your local bank.