Police crime criminal phone scam

The Rochester Police Department is notifying the community that residents are being called by the number 507-328-6800 with a person claiming to be from the department.

Some have claimed to be the chief of police and others are claiming to be police department employees.

Two 18-year-old women were victimized Thursday in similar scam operations, said Police Capt. Casey Moilanen.

In each case, the women were told by someone identifying himself as a police officer that there was a warrant for their arrest. The warrant could be taken care of by sending a specific amount of money, Moilanen said. In both cases, the women complied before reporting the scam to police.

It will likely be impossible for the women to recover the thousands of dollars they forwarded to the scammers, Moilanen said. "These are really difficult cases to track down," because they usually originate outside the United States, he said.

Police on Thursday issued a news release urging citizens to be alert to potential scams.

Examples of claims made include:

• Unpaid parking tickets resulting in a warrant.

• Identity has been compromised.

• Stolen credit or debit card used in drug dealing.

• Requesting victims to purchase gift cards to pay for warrants.

Residents are highly encouraged not to give personal information including: bank, credit card or Social Security numbers to these callers. The city has reported that police department staff will not call to ask residents this type of information.

Additionally, the Rochester Police Department does not issue or handle warrants.

The department's non-emergency number can be contacted, if necessary, at 507-328-6800.