Fairfield Police Provide Tips on How to Protect Yourself, Family from Falling Victim to Scams

Residents Urged Not to Send Money to Unknown Individuals 

Chief Robert Kalamaras and the Fairfield Police Department would like warn community members about common scams and remind them to never give out their personal or financial information to a person they do not know or whose identity cannot be verified.

Recently, Fairfield Police received a report regarding an elaborate scam that began on a dating app in which a resident was tricked into sending money to an individual who stated they were in financial distress.

The investigation into this incident is ongoing. However, the money the resident sent to the scammer most likely cannot be recovered.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), many individuals fall victim to scammers on dating apps who try to trick them into sending money. These romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps to strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day.

Once this relationship is established, they make up a story and ask for money. Often these scammers say they’re living or traveling outside of the United States and are:

  • working on an oil rig
  • in the military
  • a doctor with an international organization

“We encourage residents to take the time to verify where and to whom their money is being sent,” Chief Kalamaras said. “We encourage any resident who is contacted by an unknown individual and is asked for money to contact the Fairfield Police Department if they are concerned or in doubt about the legitimacy of the call. Odds are, the call is a scam with the purpose of extorting individuals for money.”

Residents should NEVER give personal information, social security numbers, money or credit card numbers to people they don’t know.

If a victim gives the scammer a pre-paid debit card number, sends a money order or makes a wire transfer, the money is very likely gone. There is usually no way to recover those funds.

To prevent similar scams, the FTC recommends the following:

  • Do not take calls from unknown numbers.
  • Caller ID is not always accurate. A call from a “local” number might not be coming from a local person or organization.
  • Do not share personal, identifying information like your Social Security Number, account numbers, or your mother’s maiden name.
  • If a caller claims to represent an organization and you are doubtful, hang up and contact that agency to verify whether the call was truly from a representative.
  • Never pay a caller with a gift card.
  • Telemarketers are required by law to state that they are making a sales call. They are mandated to say the name of the seller and the product before pitching their sale. If this does not happen, hang up.
  • Be wary of callers who talk quickly and pressure you to make a decision quickly.
  • Do not buy a product or service because of a “free gift.”
  • Get all information in writing before making a purchase.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a charity before donating.
  • Before making an investment that a caller or emailer is offering, check with your state securities regulator to make sure the offer is properly registered.
  • Do not send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. If you pay for a product or service with cash or a money transfer, you run the risk of losing the right to dispute fraudulent charges.
  • Do not accept an offer that requires a registration or shipping fee to get a prize or gift.
  • Beware of offers to “help” recover money that you already have lost. Scammers sometimes pose as law enforcement officers who will help get money back for a fee.
  • Report rude or abusive callers, even if you already sent them money, by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP or by visiting ftc.gov/complaint.

If you are ever unsure about a potential scam, contact the Fairfield Police Department at 203-254-4800