New London city officials warn of scams
Police chief shares common schemes to watch for
By Scott Bellile
New London city officials advise the public to be aware of scams making their rounds in the area.
Today’s trend is phony callers using local businesses’ actual names and phone numbers on caller ID, a practice called spoofing, New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter said at a city council meeting on April 9.
“If you end up getting a call, for example from a bank, even though it may say the bank’s name or the phone number on the phone, make sure that you just give them a call back,” Schlueter said. “Do not give any of your personal information over the phone. They should already have that information if they’re giving you a call.”
Mayor Gary Henke said a scammer using spoofing pretended to be his health insurance company, calling him from New London, Waupun and Florida, despite the company being based in the Fox Valley.
Council Chairman David Morack and Third District Alderman Mike Barrington said they have supposedly received calls from their own names through spoofing.
“There are scammers out there looking for information, so the best thing to do is just hang up,” Henke said. “[If] you’ve got call blocking, you block them.”
In a follow-up conversation with the Press Star, Schlueter shared several more scams beyond spoofing that frequently get reported to New London Police Department:
- Jamaican lottery scam. “If you never played a lottery, you didn’t win it,” Schlueter said. People do not provide their names to the clerk when they buy lottery tickets either, so only a winner would know they won, he added.
- Contractor fraud. Unsolicited people may come to the door offering to do a job like driveway blacktopping if paid upfront.
- Fake check scam. A resident will be mailed a check and told to deposit some of the amount at the bank and send the rest to another location.
- Grandchild in jail scam. A caller will say the person’s grandchild is in jail in Florida and demand the relative wire money or send gift cards to post bail. A police department would never accept gift cards, Schlueter said.
- IRS scam. The caller says the person owes the IRS money and will be arrested if they do not pay today. The IRS does not make debt-collection phone calls, Schlueter said.
- Shipping scam. Schlueter said police spoke with a person who bought and mailed a smartphone to Africa to supposedly help someone there.
If someone receives a suspicious phone call or message and is unsure if it is valid, Schlueter encourages them to ignore it and call the police department for an officer’s opinion at 920-982-8505.
The Better Business Bureau website also provides information on scams.