Was your car stolen? Beware a phone call from the “police.”
Who Is It Targeting: Victims of car theft or other large property theft
What Is It: A fraud attempt that demands money
What Are They After: While this scam was first reported overseas, other variations have taken place in the US. If your vehicle or any other large property is stolen, the incident is often reported in the local news under the Crime Report or may be listed on your local police department’s website. A scammer finds out your property has been stolen, and then the extortion begins.
In one version, a caller claiming to be the police informs you that your missing vehicle has been located, but that you are responsible for the transportation and storage fees. One victim stated that the vehicle had already been written off by the insurance company, but the scammer threatened him with criminal penalties for refusing to pay.
How Can You Avoid It:
- If you’re ever contacted by the police in a case like this, they will be able to verify your case number listed on your police report.
- If they don’t have that information, it’s quite likely a scam.
- You are not required to pay money as the victim of a crime (the original car theft) or compensate the police for their services in your case.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Sandton Chronicle.
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