More Scams

Our dispatch center receives several calls each week from residents who tell us they were scammed, or nearly scammed, by criminals who prey on people’s fears and attempt to exploit them. This week one of our officers received a call on his home phone from someone claiming to be the IRS and demanding money. He declined.

Also this week, an Eden Prairie business received a call from someone claiming to be from Xcel Energy and threatening to cut off the power if they did not provide a credit card number to the caller. Before providing the number, the business contacted Xcel and learned they did not make the call. However, another Eden Prairie business received a similar call last month from someone claiming to be from Xcel and they paid the scammer more than $1,600 in Money Pack Cards.

At the end of June a resident contacted us to say she had been receiving phone calls with the caller ID “911” from a caller stating that the resident needed to send money. Instead she called us and confirmed it was a scam. Earlier last month, an Eden Prairie man received a call from someone stating they were from the IRS and that the resident owed taxes and had to pay a fine, or a warrant would be issued for his arrest. As per the caller’s instructions, the man purchased a $2,000 Target gift card and gave the card’s number to the caller. The man then called Target and learned that the $2,000 had already been redeemed.

A week before that, a woman in outstate Minnesota received a call from someone claiming to be from the Eden Prairie Police Department who stated that the woman’s grandson was in jail and she would need to wire bail money for him. The woman did not comply.

These are just a few examples of the types of scams currently in circulation. Scammers can be tricky and persuasive. They use fear tactics to get people to send money quickly, before there’s a chance to think or do research on the caller’s claim. Often scammers will prey on people who may not be familiar with how our government works. For example, the IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. The IRS has an entire section of their website devoted to educating the public on how to avoid IRS scams.

If you receive a call like those described above, the best thing to do is hang up immediately – do not engage the caller. If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the EPPD at 952-949-6200.