Scams are more prevalent than ever this year and now Illinois State Police, along with other law enforcements, are warning the public.
Residents throughout Illinois are being targeted for a major scam. It has been reported that individuals will get a call, followed by a voice recording that says the individual is being investigated for a criminal charge which then continues on to say that they should send $600.
When the number is searched, it appears to be a state police number. Many officers have warned their communities of this scam and have said that the scammers are using a technique called “ID spoofing.”
Many students have also been getting scams by text as well.
“I’m trying to purchase a car, so I guess they picked up on that and sent me this great deal on a car, but I had to pay money in advance. One of my friends told me he got the same thing and it was a scam so I didn’t do it,” junior accounting major Markisa Lewis said.
Normal Police Department Community Services Officer Greg Leipold has had his fair share of calls reporting scam cases. He has heard it all and said it is difficult to pinpoint how to realize it is a scam because they use something different every time to cater to that individual.
The most common ploys scammers use include talking about winning the lottery, needing to send tax money for collection or sending bail money for a relative in jail. Not only are there certain phrases that scammers say, they also try to scam individuals during particular times of the year, such as Christmas, around the start of the new year and when summer starts.
“There is also a lot of scams that happen through online shopping, especially around income tax season. I get those all the time,” Lewis said.
Leipold offers some tips to ensure that everyone knows what to do when this happens to them.
“Expect every call to be a scam. There is software out there to ‘change’ the name of whatever business is attempting to contact you. For example: The ‘Normal Police Association’ calls you seeking money for our fundraiser. There is NOT a ‘Normal Police Association’, so this is a scam," Leipold said. "If you have access to a search engine, you can put the phone number into the search engine and it will allude to who the real number is calling from."
The Normal Police Department always makes sure that they keep the community updated with the scams by posting it to their social media accounts.
“If someone knows they are getting scammed they need to immediately hang up," Leipold said. "I know of a victim who was scammed and now the scammers are attempting to scam him every day, multiple times a day. He won’t change his phone number, so they continue to call."
It is important to report the number if you have been scammed, but authorities cannot do much due to the fact that most scammers originate overseas. Leipold said some ask the police if they can just go to the address where they sent the money, but when the address is entered into Google Maps it is normally located at an empty warehouse.
“We very rarely catch scammers. The only time we catch them is when they do not know what they are doing and provide their actual information to the victim. This hardly ever happens,” Leipold said.