In the past six months, EPPD officers have responded to 93 calls for scams or attempted scams. Scammers are getting more sophisticated in their tactics, making it difficult for victims to recognize they’re being scammed.
Here are a few scams Eden Prairie residents have fallen victim to lately.
One common type of scam is a “romance scam” where a victim is befriended on social media or dating site by someone who develops an online relationship with the victim in order to earn their trust. Then the boyfriend or girlfriend has some type of “emergency” where they need money immediately to remedy the emergency. In one recent case, the “emergency” involved money needed to get a man’s online girlfriend out of a foreign country. The man ended up taking out $45,000 in loans, which he sent to the woman. By the time he realized he had been swindled, the money was gone.
Another type of scam involves a promised payment or prize that requires the victim to pay processing expenses. Last year an Eden Prairie senior citizen received a call claiming she had won $13-million through Publishers Clearing House, but she was told she would need to pay expenses in order to release the money. She paid more than $72,000 before she realized she had been scammed.
A third common type of scam involves employees who receive emails at work that look like they came from the employee’s supervisor, asking them to purchase gift cards and send the cards’ serial numbers to the supervisor. This happened to an Eden Prairie business earlier this month when an employee purchased $2,700 in Google Play gift cards before realizing her supervisor had not sent the email.
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 victims have a chance to think or do research on the caller’s claim.
While the EPPD investigates all reports of scams, a majority of these cases are never solved, as it is difficult to identify suspects who are not using their real names and often live outside of the U.S. The phone numbers used to perpetrate these scams are quickly disconnected once the thieves receive the money, and the money is spent immediately, before victims have a chance to realize what happened.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the EPPD at 952-949-6200.