Columbia Police Department warns citizens of phone scams

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 | 1:24 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — If someone claiming to be your grandson calls to ask for money, be wary.

The Columbia Police Department sent out a news release Tuesday warning citizens to be cautious when dealing with unsolicited phone calls.

Safety tips regarding unsolicited phone calls

  1. Never send money or give personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.
  2. If you call the number back to verify information and a recording picks up that does not state the name of the company, the call was likely a scam.
  3. Make a phone call to verify a relative is sick, stranded, in jail etc. A thirty second phone call can save you money.
  4. Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. "What guarantee do I have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?"
  5. Be skeptical — Always take your time making a decision. Legitimates companies won't pressure you to make a snap decision.
  6. Take Safety Precautions — Don't pay by credit card, cash or money order.
  7. If something doesn't seem right it's not right.

On Friday, a woman received a call from someone claiming to be her grandson, according to the news release. Her supposed grandson said he was in a Mexico City jail and needed her to transfer money to him.

After the phone call, the woman attempted to contact her grandson, but couldn't reach him. She called the police to report the incident, and the police located him. He was not in Mexico City.

Although the woman did not send any money, the Columbia police want to warn citizens about the risks of transferring money under suspicious circumstances.

Such incidents have previously occurred in Columbia. The police addressed another case of phone scamming this past summer in which a man posing as an Allstate agent asked to talk to grocery-store employees about life insurance.

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.