Scammers have been around forever. They pretend to be something they are not in order to get your money or your personal information.
Scammers have pretended to be from FPL in order to gain access to your home. Others have pretended to be from the gas company to check on a reported gas leak. Of course, you haven’t reported a gas leak. This is nothing new as these scams have been around before our current digital age.
However, with technology, scammers have expanded their reach and increased their sophistication. On the less sophisticated side is the email from the Nigerian prince that needs access to your bank account to wire you millions of dollars. On the more sophisticated side are people who show up on your door with fake badges and even car decals to impersonate an FPL employee.
Phone scams have been around nearly as long as there has been a telephone. However modern technology allows scammers to impersonate different phone numbers. In other words, the number that shows up on your caller ID may not necessarily be accurate. For example, you’ve probably received calls from scammers trying to sell you an extended warranty for your vehicle, but the phone number is eerily similar to your own phone number. They scammers are using spoofing tech.
Recently, the City of Miami Springs Police Department issued a scam alert regarding calls that appear to come from the Police Department’s main emergency phone number: 305.888.9711. According to the Police, the scammers say you’re in trouble and may get arrested, but if you pay them money, the problem goes away.
Here’s the full press release form the City of Miami Springs Police Department:
Scam artists are calling people claiming to be a detective or a supervisor from the Miami Springs Police Department. They tell the person, who answers the telephone, they are investigating a criminal case against them. One recent victim advised they were told they had been visiting websites that exploit underage girls. The victim advised they have never visited any such websites. The calls appear to be from 305-888-9711, our main number. Immediate payment is demanded to drop the case.
The scammers usually ask for money via an untraceable form of payment including but not limited to: Money Gram, Western Union, gift cards, pre-paid credit cards, and money sharing apps such as Zelle, Venmo, and PayPal.
Members of the Miami Springs Police Department would never request money of any kind. Please hang up and call police. Never send money to anyone you do not know. If someone calls you demanding payment of any kind, find the telephone number of the place they are calling from. Don’t take the number they give you. Call the business/person/agency and inquire if the call is legitimate before proceeding forward.
If anyone has any information or needs assistance call the Miami Springs Police at 305-888-9711.
Of course, if you pay these people money, you are inherently gullible, and completely ignorant of how our justice system works. Heck, even if you get fined for a code violation, you will receive a notice in the mail. Our police department does not call anyone to collect fines. It’s a stupid and ludicrous scam. No different than the guy who calls you from the IRS with a heavy Indian accent, but somehow needs your social security number.
Other scams have preyed on the goodness in people’s hearts. There were emails and calls to local residents claiming to be from Father Alfaro at Blessed Trinity. Interestingly though, you couldn’t bring a check to the church or pay in person, you had give them your credit card information over the phone. And that’s the typical red flag.
I’ve also seen friends Facebook accounts spoofed. I get a messenger request from a friend requesting an Amazon Gift Card, and that they’ll pay me back. Again, another tech scam.
Why do the scammers do this?
Don’t most people figure out it’s a scam? The answer is yes, most folks smell the scam a mile away. Especially when they ask for money, credit card info, a gift card, or your social security number. However these scammers know it’s a numbers game. They need to make hundreds of calls to get to that one person who doesn’t understand it’s a scam. And voila, they get their payoff.
Hopefully, that payoff will not come from you.
In other news, I just received an offer to buy some land southeast of Naples. Two acres for just $100 down and $100 per month. What do you think? Should I buy some swamp land in the Everglades? Believe it or not this was an early land scam back in the 60s and 70s.
Worst Scam Ever?
The worst scam call I ever got was a few years back. I get a call that my brother was in an accident. Not only that, but these guys are holding my brother hostage because he damaged their vehicle and won’t pay for it. Of course, red flags fly up. I know my brother carries insurance. I know he can handle himself and is highly unlikely to be kidnapped. Nevertheless, these guys called with a normal hispanic voice common in Miami. They were very aggressive and of course they wanted money. I hung up on them once I knew they couldn’t verify some key information about my brother. But nevertheless, I wanted to confirm my brother was okay. I call him. He doesn’t pickup. I drive to his house, knock on his door. He opens up and gave him a great big hug. Alright, my brother’s okay.
I then called Miami Springs Police and reported the incident. The call had come from a jail in Puerto Rico. These guys have nothing better to do than to scare folks and try to take their money.
Report Phone Scams
You can always report violent or threatening calls to the Miami Springs Police Department at 305.888.9711. For more mundane scams, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1.877.382.4357. The FTC is the primary agency that collects scam complaints.