Fraud Alert: Phone Scam in Oregon Targeting Real Estate Agents
Story by by Oregon Herald staff
Officers have received two reports from people in the real estate industry -- one in Bend and one in Eugene -- who stated that caller claimed to be a member of the Portland Police Bureau (using an actual Sergeant's name), and requesting an urgent response due to a warrant for the person's arrest. The scammer then requests money to pay bail for the fictional warrant. The caller ID for the scammer was an actual Portland Police Bureau phone number but the callback number was different and is no longer in service.
Sometimes scams such as these will include spoofing a legitimate police agency phone number and using a real name of a law enforcement officer in an attempt to gain the trust of the victim.
The Portland Police Bureau reminds you to be aware that:
The Portland Police Bureau does not call individuals and demand or request money from community members under any circumstances.
The Portland Police Bureau or any other legitimate law enforcement agency does not call community members seeking payment for outstanding traffic citations or warrants. This includes claims of unpaid federal or state taxes.
Individuals claiming to collect debts may try to instill fear in potential victims to persuade them to forward money.
MoneyPak/Green Dot and Vanilla Reload have online tools to allow purchasers to request a refund if the scammer has not yet cashed the card.
For more information, please visit https://www.moneypak.com/refundrequest.aspx for MoneyPak/Green Dot and https://www.vanillareload.com/index.php/refund for Vanilla Reload.
If you are a resident of Portland and fall victim to these scammers with financial loss, you are encouraged to file a report by calling the Portland Police Bureau's Non-Emergency line at (503) 823-3333.
Tips to help avoid becoming a victim to this scam include:
Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller or email.
Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
Stay private. Regularly update privacy settings for social media sites. Scammers often make their stories more believable by trolling for personal information on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites.
Utility companies and government agencies will never contact you for payment by GreenDot, MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload.
Remember that anyone who has the number on a prepaid card has access to the funds on your card.
Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers to a stranger.
The Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) advises that courts may use an independent collection service to collect unpaid monetary judgments and fines. If someone believes they are being scammed regarding an alleged unpaid traffic citation or other court-imposed financial obligation they can:
Ask the collector (caller) for information specific to the alleged warrant or unpaid traffic citation. The caller should have the court case number, date of ticket and vehicle license number.
Verify the debt or confirm other details by calling the OJD collections hotline at 1-888-564-2828.
Use OJD Courts ePay to directly pay money owed to state courts for most traffic citations, civil fees or criminal fines (For more information go to http://www.courts.oregon.gov/OJD/OnlineServices/ePay/Pages/index.aspx.
If you receive a similar call, disconnect without providing any information or taking any instructions from the caller. Contact your local law enforcement agency.
The Oregon Department of Justice has a tremendous amount of information and resources available to protect consumers. Information can be found by visiting http://www.doj.state.or.us/Pages/index.aspx