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The International Falls Police Department has recently seen an increase in the number of scams in the community. In the majority of cases the individuals being targeted have not given out personal information. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

An analysis of our recent scam reports indicate that the aging residents of our community are being targeted. We find that these residents are frequently isolated and particularly vulnerable to scams. They may be embarrassed, afraid, or simply in denial. This can cause hesitancy to report scams to police or family members.

The following example was an incident reported to our local law enforcement recently.

In this case the suspect called the victim and stated that they could receive several thousand dollars if they provide their address for shipping. Several days later they called back and informed the victim that an unforeseen circumstance had occurred and they need payment in order for the money to be delivered. This scam was made more believable because the suspect used the identity of a friend, most likely gained through a hacked social media account.

In speaking with the victim she recounted that while it was apparent now that this was a scam, at the time she felt that she was too deeply embedded in the incident to get out. She felt that if she just sent one more payment the large cash sum would be sent to her. While reporting the incident she felt embarrassed for falling victim to it and was initially hesitant to speak with law enforcement.

We would like to remind everyone that the simplest method for detecting a scam is the adage “if it seems too good to be true it probably is.” Never give out personal information to callers. If you are speaking with a friend or relative who asks for money, use follow up questioning to verify their identity. The public is urged to call law enforcement when they receive a suspicious call, even if there is no information exchanged.

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