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Tigard Police Department

Scam Alerts

Rental Scams
Are you seeing a great deal on an online rental listing?Rent_Sign

If so, please be cautious. Rental scams have been around a long time and we continue to hear about them. Recently, a landlord found that his rental ad was hijacked by a scammer who took the information, changed the contact info and posted the scam ad on Craigslist. Scammers also use info and photos from real estate listings to create an ad or they may create listings for places that don’t exist. College students are especially susceptible to these kinds of scams.

Some of the signs of rental scams:

  • The rent is way too low for the area.
  • They require you to pay the deposit, first and last months’ rent and/or sign the lease before you have a chance to see the property. If you wire money or pay by gift card, you will not be able to recover the money.
  • The owner claims to be out of town or unavailable and can’t show you the property.
  • The landlord uses high pressure tactics to get you to pay a deposit or sign a lease.

Here are some tips to help you avoid rental scams:

  • Be wary of any rental rate much lower than other similar rentals in the area. If it's too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t make a payment or provide your social security number, bank or personal info to a property owner before touring the property and going through a standard rental process. 
  • Be suspicious if you’re asked to pay via wire transfer, gift or prepaid credit cards, which typically can’t be recovered. 
  • Be alert for duplicate listings online.
  • Research the management company or homeowner's name online to double-check credentials.
Moving Company Scams
Last week, an officer took a report where a woman paid a moving company to haul her household possessions across the country, but her belongings have not been delivered yet. After they missed the delivery date and she couldn’t reach anyone with the company, she called the police. Officers believe that she was scammed out of her belongings and is not the only victim.
 
If you or your college students are getting ready to move and will use a moving company:
  • Get a written estimate, ideally from at least three companies.
  • Verify that the mover is registered with the Federal government and insured.
  • Research the moving company’s complaint history with the Better Business Bureau and check online reviews.
  • Know the red flags of a moving scam.
Some of the Red flags:
  • The company provides an estimate sight unseen without inspecting your household goods being moved.
  • They don’t provide a written estimate.
  • The estimate is much lower than other moving companies.
  • They require cash or a large deposit before the move.
Find out more about red flags (scroll to "Spot the Red Flags"), tips and your rights here: www.protectyourmove.gov

IRS Scams

IRS_Refund_email(Published on May 4, 2021)
One of our community members shared an IRS phishing email shown here. The scammer was trying to get her to call and divulge personal and banking info.

IRS scams happen throughout the year whether by phone, email or text. Scammers play on people’s anxiety about taxes. Please know:

  • The IRS will not initiate contact with you by email. Typically, the IRS initiates contact through regular mail. When in doubt, call the IRS directly to verify: www.irs.gov/help/telephone-assistance
  • The IRS will not demand payment by wire transfer, debit or gift card.
  • Tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury.
  • During a contact, an IRS agent will not threaten to have local police arrest you for not paying.
  • The IRS allows taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal an amount owed.
  • The IRS will not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • The IRS does not use text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds.
  • Be skeptical of emails received from @gmail or other domains that are supposed to be from a well known agency.

Be wary of unsolicited emails from the IRS and don't click on links in these emails, which may contain malware! You can always contact the IRS directly using a phone number that you find on the IRS.gov website if you are concerned about a message. Forward IRS phishing emails with the full email headers to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. If you lost money due to an IRS phishing scam, file a police report. Report identity theft to the police and FTC.gov/idtheft. 

Tech Scams

Published on April 27, 2021

Microsoft_tech_scamA Tigard neighbor received the message pictured from a Gmail address stating that their Microsoft firewall security was expiring and $470 would be automatically deducted from their bank account. Fortunately, the neighbor realized the message was a scam since there is not a renewal fee for the firewall.

This is one of the many tech support scams that we continue to hear about. In other cases, scammers phone, email and text claiming that your computer has a virus or is a security risk. Their goal is to get you to contact the scammer, pay tech support fees and provide access to your computer to “fix” the problem, which may lead to identity theft or malware on your computer.

Advice from Microsoft:

  1. Microsoft and other legit tech support companies will not call, email or text you to report that you have a problem with your device.
  2. Pop up notifications from these companies do not include phone numbers you must call in order to get help. Error and warning messages from Microsoft never include a phone number.
  3. Like your home, be diligent about who you invite into your PC and devices.

What you can do:

  • Hang up on unsolicited tech support calls and delete these texts and emails.
  • Question any transaction that involves gift cards, prepaid credit or debit cards or wire transfers.
  • Be wary of emails received from @gmail or other domains that are supposed to be from a well known company.
  • Tell somebody about scams and scam attempts. Scammers count on you being quiet.
  • Report Microsoft tech support scams to Microsoft.com/reportascam. If you have suffered financial losses due to any scam, contact the police.
  • Keep your software updated.

New Twist on Emergency Scam

Published on social media March 19, 2021 

Our detectives want to get the word out about a new twist on an emergency scam that has been happening in the metro area, in case it comes to our city.   

Scammers try to trick you into thinking a loved one is in trouble. They may call, text, post on social media or email you claiming to be a grandchild, family member or friend who needs money for an emergency to:

  • Post bail to get out of jail
  • Pay a hospital for an emergency procedure
  • Help them get home after they have been robbed or stranded
If you don’t act now, scammers claim that something bad will happen to your loved one. These pressure tactics compel you to act before you have time to check it out.

In some cases, the scammer claims to be a lawyer, police officer or other authority contacting you about a loved one.

**This long-time scam has evolved where the scammer now arranges for a courier to visit your home to collect the cash for the emergency.**

Some tips for avoiding emergency scams:

  • Don’t act immediately, regardless of the story. Give yourself time to check it out.
  • Don’t share any info. Many victims provide names or other info, which the scammer will use to fake familiarity.
  • Ask questions. Verify their identity by asking questions only known to your family member or friend. 
  • Call a family member or friend to ask about the person in trouble.
  • Contact the police non-emergency number before taking actionIn Washington County, the number is 503-629-0111
  • Be wary of caller ID. Don’t rely on caller ID to determine if a caller is legitimate. Many scammers “spoof” caller ID so that a fake number or organization appears on the recipient’s phone.
  • Be skeptical of messages. Scammers can hack an email and social media account, so don’t assume that messages received from familiar accounts are legitimate.
  • Do your research. For example, if the caller claims to be in a jail in this country, check that law enforcement agency’s jail booking website or call the agency directly.

Work Scam Impersonating Supervisors

Published on social media February 23, 2021 
Be aware of scam emails that may be sent to your work inbox.

Someone claiming to be a department director sent an email to an employee asking her to purchase gift cards to reward employees for their hard work. The “director” instructed her to keep these plans confidential to surprise them. The employee was addressed by her name and the director’s name and title were correctly reflected in the signature line of the email. Fortunately, the employee realized it was a scam.

Some of the red flags in the scammer’s communications, which are included below:
  1. The email showed the director’s name, but the email address wasn’t a company address.
  2. The scammer wanted the assistant to act quickly. Pressure tactics are used in scams, so the victim doesn’t have time to think it through.
  3. Gift cards were requested. In most recent scams, gift cards are the payment of choice. The scammer will have the victim provide the pin and card number by phone or email and spend the funds immediately.
  4. The scammer wanted this to be confidential, so the assistant wouldn’t run the request by anyone who might question the activity.
  5. The communication contained numerous grammatical errors.
Here is what the scammer wrote in these emails:
“I'm planning to surprise some of the staff with Gift for their hard work over time and dedication to the organization, Your confidentiality will be appreciated however, I need you to get a purchase done, Email me once you get this .
I'm having a busy day and I hope I can count on you to keep this confidential. I'm looking forward to surprise some of the staff with gift cards, And i want this to be between you and I. Pending when they received it, Are you able to purchase on my behalf quickly and what local store do you think we have around to make this purchase? I'm considering Gift cards like Vanilla visa gift card, American express gift card or MasterCard. Since we have it all almost everywhere..
I need you to make a purchase of 8 Amex gift card or Vanilla gift card with $500 on each card, How soon can you get it done? Also You're getting your Reimbursement at the end of the day”

Amazon Scams

2020 Summer Scam Trends: 
Amazon Refund Scam

Based on three reported incidents in August, the scam to watch out for involves callers claiming to be from Amazon. The scammer states that he accidentally credited your account with a refund much larger than the actual amount. He says that he will lose his job if you don’t remit the overage via gift cards or wire transfer. In some cases, victims provide their bank info. In some incidents, this scam has resulted in significant losses.
 
Other scams we’ve seen last month:
  • A DEA agent calls saying that they have a warrant out for your arrest and you must pay a fee or be arrested.
  • Apple Support contacts you to help with computer issues and takes over your computer to extort money.
  • A Letgo buyer sends a check for an amount exceeding the asking price and requests the seller to remit the difference. The check bounces after the seller pays the difference.
  • A scammer claiming to be with the CIA, DEA or other agency claims that your social security card has been used in illegal or fraudulent activity and you must pay back funds via gift cards or be arrested.
Please remember a few red flags that indicate a scam such as:
  • Pressure tactics, including threats, to get you to act now before you have time to think.
  • Offers too good to be true.
  • Payment methods required that are difficult to recover such as gift cards, prepaid debit cards, and wire transfers.
  • Unsolicited calls, emails, and texts that you aren’t expecting that may include requests for personal information.
Please keep in mind that you can’t always trust caller id because a scammer can "spoof" or disguise their identity.

For tips on avoiding scams, click here

Threatening/Blackmail Email Scams

(April 28, 2020)
UPDATE: The Oregon Attorney General is also receiving reports on this scam. The alert can be found here.

Over the last two days, we have received three separate complaints from neighbors about threatening/blackmail emails. In these emails, the scammers claim to have hacked into their computers and threaten to send out compromising video footage to their contact list unless they pay a fee. The scammer includes the email recipients’ passwords, which naturally alarms them.


This likely relates to a scam that has been around for a few years. The scammer obtains information from data breaches including passwords. The scammer refers to these passwords in the email to the intended victim. Because the password is legitimate, the email recipient may believe the scammer has actually hacked into their computer and may be inclined to pay the scammer.

Some preventative steps you can take:
  • Don’t respond to these emails. Report them to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
  • Block the sender.
  • Regularly change your passwords.
  • Use two factor authentication.
  • Create unique passwords for each account that uses a combination of:
    • Words, numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters.
    • Choose words and numbers that can’t be easily guessed.
  • Don’t recycle passwords.
  • Make sure to password protect WiFi and other devices.

Beware of COVID-19 Scams

(March 23, 2020)
Tigard Police want to alert our neighbors about possible coronavirus COVID-19 scams that might impact our community. Scammers prey on our emotions. The majority of us have heightened concerns right now about our health, community, money, and supplies, making us more vulnerable to COVID-19 scams. 

Be vigilant of scams during this time including:

  • Unsolicited calls (robocalls), emails, and texts threatening to cut off your health benefits, utilities, or accounts if you don’t verify your data or pay a fee. Don't pay anything, provide info, or click on links in response to unsolicited contacts. If you’re concerned about your account status, contact the company directly using the contact information available from a statement or the company’s website.
    • A neighbor recently received a scam call where she was asked to confirm a renewal fee for Amazon prime; knowing that Amazon doesn’t call for renewals, she immediately hung up.
  • Coronavirus-themed phishing emails that prompt you to disclose personal info or click a link, such as a map of virus cases in your area, that downloads malware on your computer. The best prevention is to not click on links in unsolicited emails or texts. Research information directly on reputable websites such as https://www.cdc.gov. 
  • Work-at-home schemes.  
  • Online offers to prevent, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. 
  • Emergency or grandparent scams where someone calls or emails claiming to be a relative needing immediate assistance because they’ve been hospitalized or jailed.
  • Online sellers that you are not familiar with who claim they have out-of-stock products, such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, protective masks and gear. Some of these companies are not delivering the products ordered.
  • Fake charities that spring up during times of crisis offering to help people in need.

Please remember a few red flags that indicate a scam such as: 

  • Pressure tactics, including threats, to get you to act now before you have time to think. 
  • Offers too good to be true. 
  • Payment methods required that are difficult to recover such as gift cards, prepaid debit cards, and wire transfers. 
  • Unsolicited calls, emails, and texts that you aren’t expecting that may include requests for personal information. 
  • Please keep in mind that you can’t always trust caller id because a scammer can "spoof" or disguise their identity.

If you are contacted by a scammer, please let your neighbors, friends and relatives know. Sharing your experiences can help prevent someone else from being scammed. 

If you are a victim of a scam, report it to the police non-emergency number. In Washington County, you can call 503-629-0111. 

For more scams related to COVID-19, please visit: https://cybercrimesupport.org/covid-19-scam-alerts/

Scammer Impersonating Tigard Officer

Scammer Impersonating a Tigard Officer 

(August 28, 2019)
Over the last couple of days, Tigard Police have received several reports of a scammer(s) calling residents and businesses claiming to be a Tigard Police Officer. In a couple of these reported calls, the person identified himself as “Deputy Kyle Parker” and, in one case, attempted to obtain personal information from the call recipient. Fortunately, the recipient did not share any information.

In at least one case, the scammer provided a phone number for call back with a voicemail stating that he is a Tigard Police Officer and that people should call 9-1-1 for emergencies.

In many of these schemes involving law enforcement, fraudsters tells intended victims that they have outstanding citations or arrest warrants and must pay immediately to avoid being arrested. In some cases, scammers claim that victims missed jury duty and have warrants out for their arrest. Scammers goals are to pressure victims to act before they have time to think or do their research.   

Some scam prevention tips to consider:

  • Tigard Police will not demand payment from you for citations or warrants.
  • Be wary of anyone calling you and asking for your personal information.  
  • If you are contacted unsolicited by someone identifying themselves to be a Tigard officer, you can call the non-emergency number at 503-629-0111 to verify.
  • Be aware that you can’t always trust caller ID. Scammers often use caller ID spoofing, which allows them to falsify the number shown on caller ID.
  • Many scammers are currently demanding payment by gift card or prepaid credit card. Be wary if that is the requested payment method.
  • If a caller claims that you owe money and you are concerned that you do, hang up and contact the company directly to check it out.
  • If you have been a victim of a scam in Tigard, please report the crime to the police non-emergency number at 503-629-0111.
  • For information on the Oregon Attorney General's Office consumer hotline, please visit: https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/

Work Cell Phone Scam

Work-Cell Phone Scam
(August 2019)

We recently received two reports about a work/cell phone scam and wanted to get the word out. The scammer posted a vague Craigslist job ad offering to pay between $500.00 - $1,500.00 dollars a day. The victim called the local phone number associated with the ad, and spoke to a male who self-identified as "Chris". Over the phone, Chris didn't reveal many details and insisted on meeting at the mall to discuss the job.

The scammer claimed to be a third party cell-phone dealer. He instructed the victim to go to all the major wireless cellphone carriers, open up new accounts, and buy as many high-end cell phones as possible. He would then pay the victim cash in exchange for the phones. The scammer stated that he knew of a loophole that allowed a third-party dealer to act as an agent and cancel cell phone contracts under a 14-day rule. In essence, the scammer represented that the victim would receive the cash for the phones and would not be liable for the cell phone contracts.

Unfortunately, Chris convinced one of the victims to enter into approximately $20,000 worth of cell phone contracts. The victim is on the hook for those contracts and was paid far less for each phone than the price of each contract.

Please beware of red flags of scams such as too-good-to-be-true offers and the use of pressure tactics to get you to act before having time to think or do research. These are common tactics used to defraud victims. Please spread the word!

Reports of Fraudulent Accounts

Reports about Fraudulent Accounts
(March 13, 2019)
In March, a number of residents have reported to Tigard Police that fraudulent accounts have been opened in their names, including ones with cellular companies.  Some victims discovered the fraud when they applied for a loan or debt collection agencies contacted them about unpaid balances.

Due to significant data breaches, a majority of consumers’ personal information has been compromised. It’s not enough to regularly check existing bank, loans, and credit card accounts. We need to ensure that criminals are not opening up new accounts in our name. 

What you can do:

  • Place a free freeze on each of your credit reports with the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Businesses are unable to access your credit history while your reports are frozen and are unlikely to lend or open an account. However…. if you want to take out a loan, you need to temporarily lift the freeze on all of your reports so the lender has access to your credit history. For more info on freezes, please visit the Federal Trade Commission website
  • If you don’t put a freeze on your reports, consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service, especially one that immediately notifies you if someone opens up an account using your information.
  • Request a free credit report every year from each of the three credit bureaus and review all of the outstanding accounts listed on the reports. There may be discrepancies between the reports, so please thoroughly review each one.  For more information, please visit the FTC website.  

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, contact the police and visit https://www.identitytheft.gov for a recovery plan.

Social Security Scam: Your Number Won't be Suspended

Social Security Scam: Your Number Won't be Suspended
(February 26, 2019)

Over the last week, we have heard from a couple of residents who received scam phone calls from people claiming to be with the Social Security Administration (SSA). One neighbor answered the phone to hear a woman’s recorded voice stating that his social security number had been cancelled and he would not receive further benefits unless he talked to an agent. Fortunately, he hung up. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently warned that SSA scams are increasing. They received over 10 times as many complaints in 2018 as the prior year with 35,000 complainants and $10 million lost. Scammers impersonating SSA representatives may claim that your Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious or criminal activity associated with your number. They may threaten to issue an arrest warrant if you do not immediately respond.

These scammers may ask you to reactivate your Social Security number, a ploy likely used for identify theft. In some cases, they state your bank account is about to be seized and require you to purchase prepaid credit or gift cards or make a payment by wire transfer.

According to the FTC:

  • “Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
  • SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
  • The real SSA number is 1-800-772-1213, but scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls.
  • Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.”

Please let people know about this scam. To hear a snippet of one of these calls as well as to learn more information about them, please visit the FTC’s webpage.  

Emergency Scam: Bail money for Son-In-Law

Emergency Scam: Bail money for Son-In-Law
(January 17, 2019)

A scammer called a resident this week claiming to be his son-in-law and asking for money to bail him out of a jail in Seattle. When the resident questioned why the caller’s voice sounded unfamiliar, the scammer said he had been in a crash and spent the night in jail without medical attention for a busted nose. The caller asked the resident to keep the conversation confidential because it would upset his wife.  

The victim reported also speaking to a “representative of legal aid" who was attempting to secure $3,000 for bail. Phone numbers for both callers showed a Washington area code on caller ID. The scammers wanted the resident to provide his cell phone number so they could send him a bar code to use to deposit funds into their account at an ATM. 

Fortunately, the resident called his daughter to verify the son-in-law’s whereabouts before proceeding with the money transfer and discovered the calls were associated with a scam.

Emergency scams can take various forms whether they involve a jail, a hospital or mugging where a “relative” needs cash to return home. Some tips for avoiding emergency scams:

  • Know the signs of a scam. For example, scammers effectively use pressure tactics to compel individuals to act before they have time to analyze info and do their research. They may ask you to wire funds or use prepaid cards to pay. Other signs:  https://www.doj.state.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/six_signs.pdf
  • Ask questions. If someone claims to be a relative, verify their identity by asking only questions known to that person. 
  • Check it out. Contact family members to confirm the person’s location.
  • Do your research. For example, if the caller claims to be in a jail in this country, check the respective law enforcement agency’s jail booking website or call the agency directly.
  • Be wary of caller ID. Don’t rely on caller ID to determine if a caller is legitimate. Many scammers “spoof” caller ID so that a fake number or organization appears on the recipient’s phone.
  • Be skeptical of messages. Emergency scams can be transacted through hacked email and social media, so don’t assume that messages received from familiar accounts are necessarily legitimate.
  • Maintain privacy. Emergency scammers may be able to glean information from social media accounts, so regularly update your privacy settings and restrict access. Additionally they often will use the information provided by the victim during a communication such as names and repeat it during the conversation to establish familiarity.

Utility Scammers Target Residents and Businesses

(November 20, 2018)
This week, a scammer claiming to be a PGE customer service rep called an auto repair shop and threatened to cut off their electricity if they didn’t pay a past due bill within 45 minutes.

The owner knew the account was up-to-date. He called the phone number provided on the voice message to dispute the claim that his account was 60 days overdue.  The call taker, “Kathy”, stated that she could transfer him to the financial division to discuss the status of his bill, but the electricity would be cut off in 45 minutes unless payment was rendered. When she instructed him to pay by a Green Dot MoneyPak prepaid card and call back with the number, he realized it was a scam. He hung up and called PGE directly using the phone number printed on his utility bill.

This scheme has been around for a several years and targets residents and businesses alike. These scammers are effective at using pressure tactics to get people to act before they have time to do their research. A concerning development in this case is the similarity between the phone menu used in this scam and PGE’s menu.

Some tips for avoiding this scam:

  • Be suspicious of callers who pressure you to act now and demand immediate payment for any reason.
  • If you receive an unsolicited call, email or text stating you owe money, contact the company directly using information from your account statements, info from the company’s website or another reputable source. 
  • “Beware of money scams. PGE would never demand payment by a prepaid credit card to prevent disconnection of  service,” warns PGE on its phone line. (Prepaid cards may include Green Dot MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload, prepaid Visa and Mastercards or gift cards such as ITunes).
  • Don’t pay by wire transfer either. Scammers want you to pay using a method that can’t be easily stopped or recovered.
  • Never give personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited call, email or text.
  • Don’t rely on caller id to determine if a caller is legitimate. Many scammers “spoof” caller id so that a fake umber or organization appears on your phone.
  • Inform loved ones and friends about these kinds of scams. 
Contact
Tigard Police Department
13125 SW Hall Blvd; Tigard, OR 97223
Police Records
  503-639-6168
Fax
  503-684-5654
Non-Emergency Police
  503-629-0111
Community Tip Line
  503-718-COPS | Email

Be wary of economic-impact payment scams

(April 15, 2020)
This week, residents are starting to receive economic impact payments from the federal government through direct deposit or check in the mail. To find out more and track your payment, please click here

During this time, we can expect to see a number of scams emerge related to these stimulus payments. Please read an important message from the IRS:

“The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.”

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