Minnesotans lose millions of dollars to scam artists and bogus telemarketers through phony contests, sweepstakes scams, and lottery fraud. Criminals will use e-mails, phone calls, and mailings to gain your trust and take your money.
Protect yourself, learn to spot the signs of consumer fraud:
- Pressure Tactics; don't be pressured in making a decision about an offer, check it out first
- Payment upfront
- Time pressure; send it quickly
- Refusal to provide references; conceal their mailing address and/or phone number
- It seems too good to be true
- You won
- Don't tell
- Be wary of anything that promises large sums of money
- Don't give out personal or financial information to anyone over the internet or phone.
If you would like to report a scam but have not suffered a financial loss, please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or online. Another option is to visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a fraud or scam and incurred a financial loss, please call the Rochester/Olmsted County Law Enforcement Center at 507 328-6800 (non-emergency number).
Remember you can help stop fraud by reporting it.
The Minnesota Attorney General's Office is an excellent resource with prevention information and many on-line publications to reduce your risk of being a victim.
We ask that you please share this information with your family and friends. By talking about scams, hopefully, we can prevent another victim.
Fraud and Identity Theft Resources
Rochester/Olmsted County Law Enforcement Center
- Emergency Phone Number - 911
- Non-Emergency Phone Number - 507-328-6800
- Crime Prevention Phone Number - 507-328-6777
- Records Phone Number - 507-328-6811
U.S. Postal Service (Rochester)
- Will Contact Postal Inspector - 507-287-1244
- US Postal Services Fraud - 800-372-8347
- Complaint Line - 888-877-7644
- USPS Fraud Website
Minnesota Attorney General's Office
- General and Charities Divisions - 507-287-1244
- Commerce Division Phone - 800-372-8347
- Commerce Division Fax - 888-877-7644
Charities Review Council of Minnesota
Better Business Bureau
Minnesota Better Business Bureau
Minnesota Department of Commerce
National Fraud Information Center
National Check Fraud Center
National White Collar Crime Center
Medicare and Medicare Fraud
Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Response
- Phone Number - 877-382-4357
- Identity Theft Hotline - 877-438-4338
- Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Response Website
Social Security Fraud Hotline
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Internet Fraud Complaint Center
Credit Reporting Agencies
Protect Yourself and Your Family from Fraud
Protect your checks and credit cards
They are more valuable than cash to criminals. Don't leave them in your car or desk unless secured. Many times people will go to the park to run or walk the dog etc. and they will put the wallet or purse under the seat or in the trunk when they get to the park. Thieves are watching and will break into your car the second you are out of sight. We caught someone doing just this and it took them one and a half minutes to wait for the person to get out of sight and 20 seconds to get into the car and steal the wallet or purse.
Don't put your D.L. # on your checks
This makes it easy to get a false ID made up. This also requires the business to ask you to show your D.L. which is a benefit to you - it can be a pain, but it causes the thief/forger to work harder /alter your D.L. or get delayed or arrested if the business is sharp enough to pick up on the fraud being perpetrated. If your D.L. is stolen - go to the DMV and flag your license.
Keep all credit card receipts safe
Many criminals use numbers off receipts to defraud. Take your receipts with you. Check whether or not your whole number shows on the receipts. With the whole number and expiration date, anyone can order goods by phone or over the Internet and these are virtually impossible to prosecute because no one can ID the person who presented the card # for payment.
Always shred credit card offers you get in the mail
Thieves steal mail and garbage to get these offers. One woman was arrested in Washington County with a station wagon full of mail - she had been following the postal truck and emptying the boxes a block behind him. She had many prior arrests for forgery and credit card fraud. Don't leave mail in your mailbox for pickup by your postal carrier - put them in a postal mailbox that can't be opened - people steal mail for account numbers and to copy/counterfeit your checks and identification documents.
Don't leave mail in your outdoor box for pickup
Many criminals are stealing letters from mailboxes, which are left for the mailman. Most of those have checks, which can be counterfeited, or Credit Card numbers, which can be used by thieves to purchase items.
Tell the three credit bureaus NOT to give credit OK unless verifying with you by phone
Many people end up having to do this (put on a "Fraud Alert") after their identity has been stolen and people are not just using their checks and credit cards, but are opening new credit in the victim's name and buying cars or running up a huge debt on new credit cards.
Never give your card # out to someone calling you
Make credit card charges only when you call to order something. I always get the person's name that did the transaction within case my card # is compromised, there will be a possible suspect for the police to talk to. Credit card Fraud Investigators and bank personnel will never call and ask for your card number and expiration date. They will also never ask for your social security number unless they are following up on a police report you made about Identity Theft or related crime.