There is an important consumer alert as thieves use the Madison Police Department as an excuse to take your money by placing a phone call.
Each year phone scams take millions of dollars out of the pockets of Wisconsinites and this time thieves are trying a new approach, with hopes of tricking you. A few weeks ago, thieves tried to get cash by saying they were with the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial fund, but it was a scam. This time someone is impersonating a Madison police officer over the phone and asking for your credit card information. It's not new and is not legitimate, but it's being done across the state.
When the phone rings, there is no way of knowing who's on the other end. Rodney L. Washington says, "So the officer, when he came on the line, he presented himself, as Sgt. Mike something," talking about a phone call he received last Sunday. Sergeant Mike "something" claimed to be with the Madison Police Department and was asking for charitable donations by credit card. Washington says, "This is what threw me off is when a police officer asked me to give my credit card numbers over the telephone." Another red flag is that Washington lives in Milwaukee.
After getting the call last Sunday, he decided to do some checking and contacted a local tv station, we then contacted Madison police. Mike Hanson is with the Madison Police Department says, "Currently there is no fundraising effort by the Madison police department in which we're making phone calls to solicit any money and I can't remember a time where we ever have done that because we're funded by local tax dollars."
Wisconsin's Department of Consumer Protection says most phone scams involve police, fire and military because it tugs at the heart strings, but stresses you should never give out your information over the phone. Glen Loyd is with the agency and says, "When anybody calls you up and asks you for money, you should be suspicious. We say give, but give wisely, when in doubt, don't give. If you want to help police, you call the local police. If you want to help the local fire department, you call the local fire department and say how do I help."
Washington says when he refused to give his information, the caller offered to send him literature, but nothing has come in the mail yet. That's exactly what the Consumer Protection Agency advises people to do. With more and more cases of identity theft, it's even more important then ever to be extra cautious.