Willmar Police alert public to yet another phone scam
WILLMAR -- Willmar Police issued yet another warning Monday about scammers targeting local residents, this time with a scheme "spoofing" the phone number and caller ID of Willmar Municipal Utilities.
WILLMAR - Willmar Police issued yet another warning Monday about scammers targeting local residents, this time with a scheme “spoofing” the phone number and caller ID of Willmar Municipal Utilities.
Police were alerted to the scam after receiving calls from the public. Fraudsters apparently were phoning people’s homes, telling them their utility bill was past due and asking them to make a payment over the phone if they didn’t want their power to be shut off. In a practice known as spoofing, the scammers reportedly used the phone number and caller ID of the Municipal Utilities in an attempt to fool victims into thinking the call was legitimate.
If someone genuinely had an overdue utility bill, Willmar Municipal Utilities would send a notification, the Police Department said. Also, the utilities would not request payment over the phone.
It was the latest in a series of scams that have come to law enforcement’s attention in recent days.
The schemes are varied. In one, a Willmar landlord was told that $10,000 would be sent as a rental “prepayment” - and then asked to wire back $3,000. In another, callers were told they’d been chosen for a “Health and Human Services grant” and asked to make a second call to provide their bank account information so they could pay a $250 fee for the grant money to be wired to a local store.
In still another scam, reported Friday, a member of the public received a call asking for credit card information to confirm the delivery of money and a car.
In recent days, the Police Department has been using its Facebook page to spread the word as widely as possible.
The department reiterated its advice again on Monday: “Never give any personal or personal account information over the phone. When in doubt, call the company that is requesting the information. If you think it’s a scam, contact the local police. Be smart and be safe!”