May 20, 2015 Fairmont Police Department
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PUBLIC UTILITIES – FRAUDULENT DEMANDS FOR PAYMENT
The Fairmont Police Department has recently received several complaints from area businesses that received fraudulent calls from a person claiming to represent the City of Fairmont Utilities. The caller sounds official and tells the business they have not paid their City of Fairmont utility bill. The business is told that City workers will be coming to shut off the power that same day unless immediate payment is made. This fraud has been focused primarily on Fairmont area businesses but area residents could also receive similar calls.
The caller states that the business must send immediate payment via pre-paid credit cards to avoid shutting the power off. The fraudsters have recommended using Hy-Vee of Fairmont but they may also direct the caller to other area businesses such as Walmart or Walgreens that offer such legitimate services as pre-paid Visa cards or wire transfers of money (TransUnion or Moneygram). Once you wire transfer money or provide the numbers related to pre-paid credit cards the money is gone and you cannot request it back.
If the business states they have paid their utility bill the caller may ask for a copy of the payment check in an attempt to gather the routing and account numbers. If this information is provided the fraudster can then compromise the account and make fraudulent charges against it.
The caller has provided accurate utility account information and has used caller-ID spoofing that makes the calling number to appear to be from the “City of Fairmont” or “(507) 238-9461.” Spoofing caller ID is not complicated but it gives the caller the appearance of being legitimate. The caller will also provide a different number to call back than what the caller ID shows which can be an indicator of the call being fraudulent.
If you receive a call as described above simply hang up and do not engage in sharing any of your personal or financial information. The City of Fairmont does not call requesting any payment via prepaid Visa cards or wire transfers. Any concerns area residents do have after receiving such a call can be addressed by calling the Fairmont City Hall directly at (507) 238-9461 to verify your account is in good standing.
Do not provide personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller. If you have provided any financial or personal information in response to an unsolicited call or email contact that financial institution immediately. Never call back a number provided by a suspicious caller, message, text, or email. Use the contact information provided on the back of your credit card or listed in an area phone book to verify if a concern is real or not. Don’t be bullied by a caller, simply hang up. Take the time to pause and think before you act.
Outdoor Warning Sirens
The City of Farmont's Emergency Warning System is an outdoor, all-hazards siren system that is used to warn the general population of a potential danger in a short amount of time.
Fairmont currently has 11 sirens located strategically on poles throughout the city to ensure total citywide coverage.
What Do the Sirens Mean?
The Emergency Warning System uses only one siren tone for actual emergencies. When the sirens are activated during an emergency, the sirens will sound for 3 minutes with a steady tone to signify the emergency. This signal may be used to signify a major emergency or disaster, including a severe storm, tornado warning (not a tornado watch), chemical hazard/hazardous material incident, extreme winds, biological hazard or event.
Please note that the city performs a monthly siren test to ensure all sirens are functioning. The entire system is tested for three minutes on the first Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m. The sirens area activated by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
What Should I Do if I Hear the Sirens?
If the sirens are activated anytime outside of the monthly siren test period the public should recognize the sound as a signal to:
• Seek immediate shelter inside a sturdy building away from windows and glass
• Tune to radio or television to get information about the type of emergency and instructions and recommendations
• DO NOT go outside to investigate the origin of the emergency warning
The public should not call 9-1-1 unless they have an actual emergency.
Why can’t I hear the sirens in my home?
Sirens are an outdoor warning system designed only to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching.
We recommend that each home purchase a NOAA Weather Alert Radio to stay alert to severe weather conditions. Outdoor warning sirens will only be activated when an actual or possible tornado is threatening the area, but a NOAA weather radio will sound severe thunderstorm warnings, thunderstorm watches, tornado watches, etc. These devices can help save the lives of your family and protect your property.
Tornado Watch or Tornado Warning?
When a Tornado Watch is issued by the National Weather Service, tornadoes are possible in our area. Remain alert for the approaching storms.
When a Tornado Warning is issued by the National Weather Service, a tornado has been spotted or indicated by weather detection equipment. The Emergency Warning Siren will sound during a Tornado Warning.
Click here for more Security and Burglary Prevention tips or see below for more information.
The recent spike of burglaries and financial loss to victims point to the continued need for vigilance.
Target hardening, or protecting vulnerable areas of your home and property by means of physical security devices, is an excellent starting point for reducing the likelihood that your house or apartment will be burglarized. Fairmont Police encourage everyone to use any or all of the following methods to avoid being victimized.
Lock all doors and window when leaving the home unattended, even for a short while.
Keep large sums of cash in banks and expansive jewelry in safe deposit boxes.
Keep your landscaping directly around your home small. This avoids areas where people may be able to lurk around.
Do not hide keys under the doormat, in a flowerpot, or on top of the electricity meter box outside the house.
Do not leave notes outside of the house announcing your absence from home.
Leave a light, radio or T.V. on at night to give an impression that occupants are home.
Cancel all mail or newspaper when you are away from home for a few days.
Change all locks when your house keys are lost or stolen.
Asking your immediate neighbors to keep an eye on your house while you are away can be very beneficial.
Tell your Valentine to buckle up. Winter and Rural Driving in greater Minnesota accounts for a large percentage of traffic death in Minnesota. Each year, about 80 percent of all unbelted traffic deaths occur in greater Minnesota, and pickup truck drivers have the lowest seatbelt compliance rate. Talk to your Valentine about buckling up and being cautious on area rural roads.
September 8, 2011 Fairmont Police Department
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (507) 238-4481
Fairmont Police Department cautions area residents to be cautious of telephone scams from Canada, Spain and Mexico
The Fairmont Police Department is advising area residents to be cautious of “emergency” calls alleging to be from family members asking for money to be wire transferred to Foreign Country.
In the last several weeks reports to Fairmont Police Department began regarding one of the latest frauds to get money from unsuspecting residents. While the details of the scam can vary, this latest financial scam involves scam artists who pretend to be a family member supposedly involved in a traffic accident or DUI in Mexico and Spain.
The caller uses fear, sympathy, and personal attachment to family members to convince the person called to wire money to a relative in need. The callers have pretended to be a grandson and have used the correct name of the relative. The scam artist stated he was involved in an accident and needs money wire transferred quickly to pay for the rental car or damage to property or medical expenses or fines. When the grandparent recognizes that the voice of the caller doesn’t sound quite like his or her grandson the caller states he has a cold or is just panicked from being involved in an accident or arrested. The caller requests an immediate wire transfer to them (ranging from $1000 to $4500) to help them. They also ask the victim not to tell his “parents” and they’ll pay the grandparent back upon return to the USA. If the victim sends the money they will most likely receive another “emergency” call requesting even more money with another convincing excuse for needing the money.
Other variations of the scam include a caller claiming to be a police officer or hospital official. The caller provides the correct name of the family member to the victim and instructs them to send money for their family members bail to secure release or provides a number to call for instructions on how to send money for emergency medical expenses.
The victims have been instructed to go to the nearest Wal-mart and send the money to the “grandson” via Western Union or Money Gram. What the victim may not know is that a money wire transfer can be picked up anywhere in the world, no matter what location the sender writes on the receipt. Wal-marts are most likely chosen because they are easy to find in most areas and they offer money wire transfer services.
Investigation into these types of frauds typically cross international borders which makes prosecution unlikely and the recovery of any lost funds nearly impossible. Area residents are advised that if they receive this type of call they should not wire transfer money and law enforcement should be contacted. Independent verification of a family member’s welfare and location can typically be made with a few phone calls. Take the time to think first before acting.
Large Amount Fraudelent Checks Received as "Payment" for Items Posted on Ebay, CraigsList, Classified Ads etc. Bounce When Cashed at the Bank, Costing Fairmont Area Residents Hundreds or even Thousands of Dollars.
The Fairmont Police Department is urging people to be cautious when accepting unsolicited offers or “over payments” for items listed for sale. Also, don’t respond to unsolicited emails offering secret shopper offers or other offers that require the person to cash checks or send money to an unknown person. If a resident has doubts about the validity of a check or wire transfer request please consult their bank or local law enforcement before taking action. Click this link to view further details about this current and ongoing scam.