MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The Madison Police Department is alerting residents of an alleged phone fraud scam committed Monday when a caller claimed to be a law enforcement official and convinced the alleged victim to purchase thousands of dollars’ worth in gift cards.
In an incident report, police state someone called a citizen claiming to be a federal agent and alerted them that their bank account had been compromised.
The caller sent the alleged victim photographs of a fake badge and credentials, as well as what police called common techniques to convince the victim to buy gift cards. The victim then shared the gift cards through text messages, which police say were cleaned out shortly after.
Police continued, saying the victim received another call later from someone allegedly claiming to be a Madison PD officer. This caller mimicked the dispatch phone line, MPD added.
Officers listed the following red flags to help residents identify when a scam like this is happening:
- Consider third-party confirmation of information, such as the officers’ names or incident report numbers. Contacting the agency directly could help confirm that the call is fraudulent.
- MPD states gift cards are never a legitimate way to resolve a government financial obligation.
- Residents should be weary of potential buyers when trying to sell goods online and feel cautious if the buyer is creating a manufactured sense of urgency when it comes to price or shipping. MPD said the sense of urgency is used to try to get the victim to pay a large sum of money and likely leave them without the goods.
- MPD stated law enforcement will never call to tell you there is warrant regarding your arrest.
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