Police want public to be aware of identity theft scam

Friday, July 30, 2010 | 6:13 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department wants the public to be aware of suspicious phone calls, e-mails or written letters requesting any personal information, including their social security number or bank information. 

"Banks, credit card companies and reputable online retailers such as eBay and Paypal will never contact you and ask to confirm account numbers or social security numbers over the phone or via email," the release said.

The memo details a phone call received by police by a woman on Thursday afternoon. The woman reported she had been "contacted several times by phone at her place of employment by a man identifying himself as John Walker." 

The man, who called multiple times over the course of several days, left messages claiming to be several other people, including an officer at the East Lansing Police Department. Walker claimed that he wanted to verify her social security number, giving her the first three numbers of her social security number and asking for her to fill in the rest. 

"Walker" called the woman from the number (516) 515-3371, a number that has been found through an internet search to be associated with a number of fraudulent debt collecting scams. He also claimed to be Larry Walker and Edward Walker, in addition to John Walker. 

Police said they confirmed there is no Officer Walker at the East Lansing Police Department.

Columbia police encourage anyone in doubt to report suspected fraudulent activity to them at 873-7652.

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