More than two dozen people have been scammed out of thousands of dollars in Eagan this year, with Eagan Police Department now publishing some of the shocking cases.
Police say the 26 scam crimes have stolen a combined $441,397 over the last nine months.
"These scams vary widely from supposed utility companies requesting payment, to U.S. Marshals claiming the victim’s identity is being used to smuggle drugs," Eagan PD said in a release.
Victims have ranged in age from 21 to 86, with scammers targeting both men and women. Victims have made payments by wiring money, sendings checks and cash, digitally sending cash through apps, and purchasing gift cards to Target, iTunes, eBay, Google and Visa.
The largest amount stolen from any one victim was $160,000, as a 63-year-old vulnerable adult was cheated multiple times through a variety of methods. A 61-year-old woman was scammed out of $126,700 through an online dating scam, while a different woman also wired in excess of $85,000 in an online dating scam.
Police say scammers have targeted people with varying degrees of education, socio-economic status, and life experience.
"Everyone is susceptible to being scammed," Eagan PD warns.
"Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch people off guard when they’re not expecting it. The best way to prevent a scam is to be alert to the fact that scams exist, and then learn what warning signs look like," Eagan PD notes.
"Most scams work to incite panic and require a person to take immediate action. When the victim panics from a supposed missed bill or threat of arrest, their critical thinking shuts down. Scammers then take advantage of this panicked state and can convince people to divulge personal information and/or to give up money to remedy the situation. Many times, they will ask victims to send payments in non-traditional methods such as gift cards or wire transfers."
The Federal Trade Commission website has a list of the latest common tactics used by scammers. You can see it in full right here.