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New scam hitting Cass County: Sheriff offers tips to avoid falling a victim

The Cass County Sheriff's Office recently received several reports from area businesses and individuals about a new scam call that is being received.

In the most recent scam call, the caller identifies themselves as a representative of the "Minnesota State Police Task Force" and are soliciting donations. The caller is using a caller ID "spoof" tactic in which it appears that the call is coming from a local 218 area code number, a news release stated. These solicitation calls are timed with the season of giving and disguised to go along with other legitimate fundraising initiatives happening this time of the year. The sheriff's office is not aware of any state law enforcement organization that solicits donations or fundraisers in this manner. When attempting to call the number back, it is not valid.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota Attorney General's Office reminds citizens to avoid potential scam and fraud situations. If a person notices any of the following red flags during a transaction, it's a strong indication they're being targeted by a scam:

• Don't be afraid to say "no." If something doesn't seem right, tell the person you're not interested. Don't be afraid to hang up the phone, or to not respond to future calls, text messages or emails from the person. Hanging up isn't bad manners if a person thinks they're being scammed.

• Ask a friend, family member or neighbor for their opinion. Scam artists don't have your best interests in mind. Asking a trusted friend, family member or neighbor about the situation may help a person spot the scam and save them from being victimized.

• Don't be rushed. If a person is pressured to act quickly, take time to think things through. If an offer is good today, it will usually be available tomorrow.

• When in doubt, don't give it out. If a person questions who is contacting them, don't give out any private information. Scam artists can use personal and financial information to steal a person's identity, drain their bank accounts and open lines of credit in their name. If in doubt, don't give your information out.

• Research the offer. A simple internet search can sometimes yield a lot of information, including consumer reviews, complaints and other postings. A person may also check with the attorney general's office to find out more about emerging scams.