CIs there a rumor you'd like tracked down? Rory Linnane answers some of the mysteries of life in Brookfield and helps solve everyday problems.
How do you know if you're being scammed, and what should you do about it?
Situation: The Brookfield Police Department has seen an uptick in residents reporting suspected phone scams, wondering how to tell for sure and what to do about it.
Response: Community Services Officer Denise Carroll said residents, especially senior citizens, have frequently been calling or coming into the police station to report being scammed for money by phone. Carroll had scads of tips to share.
Here are four common scams, and what to do about them.
An especially common phone scam seen in the Brookfield area is known as the "grandparent scam."
Someone claiming to be a resident's grandchild calls and asks for money to be sent right away because of an emergency, such as being arrested and needing bail money.
Carroll said these calls can be especially convincing, because the caller may obtain personal family information from social media, obituaries or hacked emails. She encourages residents who get phone calls like this to hang up and verify the claim through other means.
The Charity Case
Around the holidays or after major disasters, scam artists may pose as fake charities.
Carroll recommends always checking to see if a charity is registered with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing before donating.
The Amazing Offer
If someone makes you an unbelievable deal, there's a good chance you shouldn't believe it.
"It's important to be skeptical of any proposal that seems too good to be true or needs to be kept secret," Carroll said.
If you hear anything like, "You must decide now," "You must pay now," "Don't tell anyone," or "Just trust me," Carroll said it's time to be suspicious.
To start, ask for the company's name and address, and check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints — but keep in mind fraudulent companies often start and close quickly.
Resist sending payment by private courier, wire or overnight.
Some scammers look for people who already have been scammed once, and pose as an organization that can help victims recover their money.
In these cases, Carroll said, it's important to know: "Legitimate groups would never charge to investigate your case or recover your lost money."
In all cases, Carroll said, it's good to contact the Police Department so officers can learn more about what kind of scams are occurring and warn others to look out for them.
Submit your question for Ask NOW by sending an email to Rory Linnane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Ask Now: Less meetings? Same pay?
- Brookfield Ask Now: Overnight parking on the street?
- Brookfield and Elm Grove Ask Now: Why has electronic recycling stopped?
- Ask Now: Who do I call if I see an injured animal in my yard?
- Brookfield and Elm Grove Ask Now: Stars and Stripes in a frame?
- Ask Now: Too many intersections in close proximity?
- Ask Now: How does one get appointed to a Brookfield committee?
- Brookfield Ask Now: Can ATVs be ridden in public right of way?
- Brookfield and Elm Grove Ask Now: Has the mayor always broken ties?
- Ask Now: Why the bends in Pilgrim Road?
- Ask Now: Why isn't the city on Facebook?
- Ask Now: Why is work being done at the Quarry?
- Ask Now: How big are Brookfield's hills?
- Ask Now: Elm Grove meetings online?
- Ask Now: What are Brookfield's policies for abandoned houses?
- Ask Now: What is an arterial road?
- Ask Now: Is Brookfield's population really that old?
- Ask Now: Any plans for Brookfield's former Venice Club?
- Brookfield and Elm Grove Ask Now: Why are dogs required to be licensed?
- Ask Now: How much is public service worth in the city of Brookfield?