The Better Business Bureau is warning Chicago residents of con artists posing as police officers, members of the Sheriff’s Office and even FBI officers who call consumers and tell them they must pay a fine in order to avoid criminal charges.
The bureau says the con artists, who spoof the caller ID to show law enforcement phone numbers, require payments be made by a prepaid debit card or money order, not a credit card, and are warning consumers to avoid making payments to the callers.
“People can often be deceived by callers claiming to be from law enforcement agencies, so don’t fall for their tactics,” Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, said in a statement. “Consumers need to be very skeptical of anyone asking them for money or personal information over the phone and the BBB recommends to not doing it.”
One consumer said a collection agency repeatedly called and threatened to call police and have her arrested if she didn’t pay, according to a release from the BBB.
Officials are urging consumers to follow these tips when bogus collection calls are received:
- Don’t wire money. The real police department will never ask for money to be wired over the phone.
- Don’t give out personal information. Never give out financial or personal information over the phone.
- Hang up the phone. As much as you may want to keep talking or asking questions to this person over the phone, just hang up.
- Don’t call this person back again, because that way he or she may be able to track some of your information.
- Contact your local police department. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer asking for money, look for your local police department’s number on their website and tell them what happened.