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Increasing amount of phone scams being reported

The Idaho Falls Police Department are encouraging people to learn how to recognize and avoid being a victim of phone scams.

This comes as Idaho Falls Police continue to see a number of people falling victim to fraud and scams.

The most common scams the Idaho Falls Police and the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office have seen are scammers using fear to scare victims.

For example, some scammers are impersonating utility customer service agents who threaten to shut off utilities if the payment is not received immediately over the phone. Law enforcement are also seeing more scammers impersonating law enforcement officials who call about a warrant from unpaid fees and if the fees are paid immediately by phone, an officer will be sent to arrest them.

If a scammer calls, here is what you can do.

1) Know the common signs of a scam. Scammers typically ask for payments in untraditional ways like paying at a store that has MoneyGram or Western Union Service. Other payment ways include asking for the numbers on a pre-paid Visa gift card.

2) If the caller sounds legitimate, ask questions such as asking for the billing office phone number. You can tell the caller you will call them back to verify the number by checking your billing statement or looking it up online.

3) If you know for sure it is a scam, hang up and block the phone number. You can also report the phone scam to the Federal Trade Commission here or by phone, 1-877-382-4357.

4) Make sure you number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. This service is free. Calling lists are a common way for scammers to get phone numbers. Sign up for the registry here.

If you do fall victim to a scam, meaning you’ve lost money, that is when you should report it to local law enforcement. You can call the Idaho Falls public safety dispatch at (208) 529-1200.

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