Southside Adopt-A-Cop

Scam Alert
Avoiding/Spotting Scams
Tips from Officer Jake Willard, Spokane Police Department Southeast NRO  and our
Southside Adopt-a-Cop
I want to help our members not fall victim to some scary frauds out there that can cause serious financial hardships to victims. Here are some tips to help you, your family, and loved ones recognize scams so you don’t become a victim. We are always available to help. Please call me at 625-3310 or 509-625-3300 if you need help.
Always report any suspected fraud cases to Crime Check so we can document what is going on and any new trends. Criminals are always trying to be clever and create new ways to victimize people, so it is important to stay on top of these types of crimes and report them to local law enforcement. We may not be able to find the bad guys all the time, but we will learn their ways and develop possible solutions to help the community not fall victim any further. We just need all to be aware, so report what you are seeing.

Tips for Spotting/Avoiding Fraud crimes
  • The biggest are the social media / internet / romance scams.
  • Law enforcement scams – sometimes IRS but usually some “police” agency contacts the victim stating their identity was used in some drug deal or illegal activity and in order to avoid seizure of all assets and/or arrest, they have to send money to hold in a government account pending the “investigation.”
  • Family members claim elderly relative has diminished capacity and has large amounts of money stolen from them. These cases get into problems when another relative is on the bank accounts and can legally withdraw money from a joint account and use it for personal use (Unless a person has a court ordered Durable Power of Attorney they cannot use it for personal use.
  • Telephone/ Email / Grandson in jail – needs to be bonded out
  • Owe the IRS money
  • Requesting purchase of gift cards and using Western Union to send money is a big red flag, a total scam.
  • Yard Work Scams – suspect comes to elderly victim’s house and offers to provide yard service or house repairs. Need money up front to start. Suspect completes a small portion of the service and does not finish. The suspect will sometimes state that the job was underbid and needs more money to complete.

Protect Yourself from Social Security Scams
Scammers are pretending to be government employees. Scammers will try to scare and trick you into giving them your personal information and money. They may threaten you or your family and may demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action.
Don't be fooled! If you receive a suspicious call:
  • Hang up.
  • DO NOT give them money or personal information.
  • Report the scam at OIG.SSA.GOV.
Social Security may call you in some situations but will never:
  • Threaten you
  • Suspend your Social Security Number
  • Demand immediate payment from you
  • Require payment by cash, gift card, pre-paid debit card, or wire transfer
  • Ask for gift card numbers over the phone or for you to wire or mail cash
What to look out for:
  • The call or email says there is a problem with your Social Security Number or account.
  • \Someone asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Scammers pretend they’re from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID or documents sent by email may look official but they are not.
  • Callers threaten you with arrest or other legal action.
Protect yourself, friends, and family.
If you receive a questionable call, hang up and report it at Don’t be embarrassed to report if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.
Learn more at