PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An ongoing phone scam in Oregon seems to be targeting real estate agents under the guise of being law enforcement, said Portland Police.
Two cases with striking similarities have emerged from Bend and Eugene. In both reports, the caller claimed to be from the Portland Police Bureau, and used the name of a real Sergeant. Police even said the caller ID showed an actual PPB phone number, but any attempt to call the number back leads to an out of service message.
A clip of the scam phone call
During the call, the scammer created an emergency, claiming there was a warrant out for the person’s arrest. They then asked for money to pay bail for the made-up warrant.
Both people who reported these scams to police worked in the real estate industry, according to PPB.
In a public service announcement to Oregon residents, Portland Police clarified that the bureau does not call individual people and demand money “under any circumstances” nor do they—or any other law enforcement agency—call to collect payment on outstanding traffic citations or warrants. This includes taxes, both federal and state. They also listed the following tips to help prevent being a victim of a scam:
- Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller or email.
- Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
- Regularly update privacy settings for social media sites. (Scammers regularly collect personal information from platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Utility companies and government agencies will never contact you for payment by GreenDot, MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload.
- Remember that anyone who has the number on a prepaid card has access to the funds on your card.
- Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers to a stranger.
If you believe you were a victim of a scam, please call Portland Police’s non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.