South Lake Tahoe business owner reports attempted scam
A local business owner’s handling of an apparent scam attempt is serving as an example for how to handle would-be thieves.
The unidentified business owner, according to police, received a call Thursday from what appeared to be the South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s main line.
The caller told the business owner he owed money on old credit cards and said he would be arrested he failed to pay. The caller provided a phone number for more information (512-333-2304). The business owner called and was told he owed $1,985.
The business owner hung up and called police.
“Neither the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, nor any legitimate law enforcement agency, will call you to collect on credit card bills, or back taxes,” Lt. Shannon Laney with SLTPD said in a press release. “Law enforcement agencies also don’t take money in lieu of arrest. If a person has an outstanding arrest warrant, they’ll be arrested, cited, or directed to the court to have the warrant taken care of.”
Numbers such as 512-333-23xx are associated with many phone scams, according to police. Current technology allows scammers to “spoof” the number displayed on caller ID so that it appears to be a call from a legitimate business or a government agency.
Police recommend being leery of callers asking for money through Green Dot cards, credit cards, Money Grams, Venmo, direct deposit or other commodities in lieu of arrest.
The police department offers the following tips to avoid becoming the victim of a scam:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls
- Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact
- Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, hang up
Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.IC3.gov.