LIST: Anchorage residents, authorities report multiple scams targeting them
Here's a sampling of scams we're aware of, curated from press releases and social media. Know of another? Tell us.
IRS and Social Security Administration phone imposters. Callers may be robo-calls, may spoof caller ID and phone numbers, and threaten negative consequences if payments aren't immediately made. Sometimes they ask for personal information. Sometimes they request you pay in gift cards.
Publishers Clearing House: Caller claimed prize included cash and a fancy car, but wanted bank information to help get the items and money to Alaska.
Give me gift cards! In April, Anchorage Police Dispatch warned about multiple calls regarding a phone scam. From APD: "While the story varied on who the scammer pretended to be (IRS, Social Security Office, Warrants Office) the theme was the same: the scammer told the victim they owed money (or had a warrant) and had to pay off the amount owed by purchasing gift cards. Not only will no legitimate government office ask you for payment over the phone, they will NEVER ask for payment in gift cards. Do not fall for this scam. Hang up immediately should you receive one of these calls."
United Way credit card scam: "An entity identifying itself as United Way calling from 907-263-3802 is attempting to defraud the public asking for personal credit card information. This is a scam- NOT UNITED WAY OF ANCHORAGE. Do not answer calls from 907-263-3802 and never give your credit card information over the phone."
Municipal Light & Power: In February, "Anchorage Police Department reported that scammers are targeting ML&P’s customers demanding payment for delinquent accounts. Scammers are posing as ML&P customer service staff using phone number (907-279-7671) on caller ID and 1-800-335-0315 as a callback number. If you are a ML&P customer and get a suspicious call, hang up and call ML&P at 907-263-5340/888-999-5340 during business hours to verify your account information or to report the incident."
Alaska State Trooper scam: In Dec. 2018, calls started occurring in which a caller claims to be a trooper. "The caller advises people that they, or one of their family members, have active warrants and they must pay their bail to him or face arrest and possible additional fines. The caller may say that you need to come to the local Courthouse to clear warrants for failing to go to jury duty etc. He may also provide a call back number which usually goes directly to an answering machine if called and a computer generated female voice says “you’ve reached the Alaska State Troopers office, if you know your party’s extension dial it now.” This scam has taken place in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, the Kenai Peninsula and could occur in other communities. Be aware that the Alaska State Troopers will NOT ask for payment over the phone or offer to negotiate for reduced payment in lieu of arrest. No law enforcement agency will collect funds during a phone call or ask that payment be made using pre-paid credit cards."
Alaska State Troopers / Money Pak: In Dec. 2018 "a concerned citizen contacted Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks about a possible phone scam. The citizen provided $936.00 on “Money Pak” cards to an individual identifying himself as an Alaska State Trooper, over the phone. This citizen was threatened for missing court hearings in Anchorage. As a reminder, the Alaska State Troopers do not request any forms of payment."
Regulatory Commission of Alaska: In Nov. 2018, "the State of Alaska warned that people were receiving phone calls from scammers pretending to be employed by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. The scammer is spoofing RCA’s main line phone number (907-276-6222) and demanding payment for delinquent electric accounts."
First National Bank Alaska: In February, the Bank alerted customers to fraudulent calls and texts. "Some Alaskan cardholders are reporting receiving automated phone calls and text messages in a fraudulent attempt to gain personal information. First reports of this scam are targeting bank customers and non-customers in Homer, Alaska. This recent fraudulent message directs the customer to call 844-787-7041. Cardholders who call this number are asked to enter their 16-digit card number, expiration date, PIN and other personal identifiable information. The security of First National’s network has not been compromised. This is a phishing scam. First National and Mastercard do not directly contact cardholders via text message or phone to request personal credit or debit card information. You should never be required to provide your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or other personal identifiable information via text or phone request. Alaskans who believe their information has been compromised should immediately contact their bank."