Business / Local / Technology

Electronic scam uses public safety as bait

NORFOLK, Va. (NPD) – Norfolk police detectives were recently alerted to a new electronic scam targeting the area and warn citizens to be careful when providing personal information to unknown sources.

Several Norfolk citizens have received text messages, claiming to be from the Norfolk Fire Department.  The text message reads “Norfolk Fire Dept. decided to lock your account.  Resolve the situation now at 1-877-291-4690.”  Once the number is dialed, a computerized voice prompts the caller to enter a debit or ATM card number for verification of their account.

“Members of the Norfolk Fire-Rescue will never solicit community members’ financial information, whether in text, email, phone or in person,” stated Fire-Rescue Spokesman Battalion Chief Julian Williamson. “This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts.”

The Norfolk Police Department’s Economics Crimes Unit is aware of this potential scam and caution citizens from providing both financial and personal information to unconfirmed sources.

When a scam or fraud is suspected, detectives encourage citizens to take the following precautions:

  1. Don’t reply.
  2. Don’t open any attachments.  They can contain a virus or malicious code that may infect your computer or mobile phone.
  3. Don’t click on any links.  If you clicked on links in a suspicious text message and provided confidential information, contact your financial institution(s) immediately to help resolve any pending transactions or identity theft that may occur.
  4. Maintain as many details as possible about the suspicious communication and contact your local police department to report the scam.  Details can include, but are not limited to, the verbiage of the suspicious text, caller information, or links provided.
  5. Delete the communication from your electronic device.
  6. Warn family, friends, and colleagues of the scam to help prevent fraud and identity theft.

Anyone who believes they may have fallen victim to fraud, is encouraged to contact the Norfolk Police Department’s Economic Crimes Section at 757-664-7018.

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