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Moorhead police warn of rise in fraud, scams

MOORHEAD - Moorhead police are warning residents of a recent rise in fraud and scam reports.

In the last two weeks, 16 fraud reports have been taken, police said in a news release.

Phone scams reported often use a variation of the claim that an alleged relative needs financial assistance for arrest bail, car repairs, etc. Grandparents have been the target of choice, police said, and the scammers have been successful in a number of cases.

Police are also warning people to be careful about providing personal information over the telephone. Police said scammers often falsely associate themselves with companies or organizations to solicit account numbers to gain access to personal bank accounts.

One Moorhead police officer has taken three reports in which victims purchased gift cards from Target, iTunes, and Steam totaling $11,000 for fabricated outstanding bills.

Computer scams have ranged from fake overpayment checks being sent for payment of advertised items on Craigslist, to notifications that the targets of the scam have won a prize and need to provide personal information, police said.

Several complainants said they were able to determine they were being lied to by questioning the caller, and that callers would hang up once exposed as imposters, police said.