Public Service Announcement:
Recently the Oelwein Police Department has been experiencing an increase in the number of calls from citizens reporting telephone scams of all types. These scams range from people calling and reporting themselves to be debt collectors in an attempt to gain access to bank accounts, to people receiving emails, mail, and telephone calls reporting people to be winners of a lottery in an attempt to have money sent to them. These types of scams may or may not be US based and can cost people who fall victim to the scam thousands of dollars. The Oelwein Police Department is encouraging all people to educate themselves and others about current scams.
Simple tips on preventing phone scams:
• If you get a call saying you’re a winner – don’t pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. Legitimate operations won’t require you to pay to collect your winnings.
• It’s against federal law to play a foreign lottery – so if you get a call it is likely a scam.
• Never wire money to anyone with whom you are not familiar.
• Never provide anyone with personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers or Social Security numbers.
• Check any unfamiliar area codes before returning calls.
• Be aware that there are many 3-digit area codes that connect callers to international telephone numbers – especially 876. The Oelwein Police recently found that the phone number 615-752-5306 was being used in a debt collection scam.
• If you do not have Caller ID, consider adding it to your phone service. Caller ID allows you to add a Call Intercept feature that screens calls and offers the option to reject suspicious international calls.
• If you do not make international calls, ask your telephone provider to block outgoing international calls.