Phone scammers pretending to be Brandon Police Department and asking for donations

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 10:25 PM CDT
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BRANDON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Several people in Brandon have received fraudulent calls from someone impersonating the police department. Those callers are allegedly asking for donations to be made to the department.

One of the callers impersonating the police department spoofed the Brandon police department’s number, to further gain the trust of at least one local business to convince them they were real.

Phone scams happen across the country, with many callers pretending to be from an organization people trust, such as the police department.

“The Brandon Police Department will never call you and ask for donations,” said Officer Anthony Lingen with the Brandon Police Department. “So if you get a call with somebody claiming to be from the Brandon Police department and there asking for money, it’s not from us.”

Jesse Schmidt, Director of the Better Business Bureau of South Dakota, says anytime someone calls and asks for money should be a red flag.

“Anything that asks for payment in unusual means, we would tell you that should be a red flag,” said Schmidt. “Payment by a gift card is not a good idea, payment by wiring money is not a good idea.”

Phone scammers will try and make you believe it is urgent to give money now, but it’s important to take a second and think about what they are asking for.

“Before you are caught off guard and your adrenaline is pumping because they tell you something has to happen rather quickly, take a step back, really analyze the entire conversation and ask does it make sense,” said Schmidt. “Would it be something you would be asked of or required to do in the normal course of your job? If that is not the case, you should probably take a minute and do a little bit of research.”

The Brandon Police Department says there are several ways to check if they are the ones calling. Officers will always identify themselves on the phone and you can ask for the officer to meet face to face, or you can hang up and call Brandon’s Police department.

“Call Metro communications our dispatch center, at 605-367-7000 and ask to have whomever the officer is who is speaking to you call you back, it’s one of the easiest ways to verify whom you are talking to,” said Officer Lingen.

If you believe you may have been contacted by a potential phone scam, contact your local authorities to file a report, so they have a record of what potential scams are out there.

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