Billings Police Dept. Reports Phone Scam Circulating Billings
Phone scammers are at in again in the Billings area, and they're back with a common ruse. Today (10/13) Billings Police Department Lieutenant Brandon Wooley shared this Tweet, reminding the public to be aware of the scam.
The scam isn't new but it can be alarming.
Scammers hope that you'll fall for their tricks, and while the scheme may vary, they always want one thing... your money. Exact details about the current phone scam aren't known, but they commonly go something like this:
You (answering your phone): Hello?
Them: Hi, _________ (they always seem to know your name). This is Detective So-and-So from the Billings Police Department, calling about an important manner.
You: Oh no! Am I in some sort of trouble?
Them: Actually, you are. You did something bad (perhaps an unpaid traffic ticket) and if you don't pay the fine of $250 dollars immediately, we're sending an officer to your home/workplace right now to arrest you for failure to appear.
You: Crap! I can't go to jail! I have a family and my boss will think I'm some sort of loser criminal!! Can I pay for this over the phone? Do you take cards?
Them: We sure do. Thank you for doing the right thing. Please give me the numbers, expiration date, and 3 digit code and we'll get this urgent matter resolved right away.
A sImple solution? Don't answer calls you don't recognize.
This seems like a no-brainer, but phone scammers have become fairly sophisticated and they can easily "spoof" legitimate phone numbers. That means when they call you it may show up as an actual Billings Police Department phone number and/or name on your ID.
The elderly are common victims of phone scams.
Most people will likely not answer the call, or simply hang up when someone pretending to be a BPD detective calls. However, elderly friends and relatives might fall prey to the scam. ABC News reported that senior citizens were scammed out of nearly a billion dollars in 2020, according to FBI data. Remind your parents or grandparents to never give money to callers over the phone.