Written by Devon Boen
A sister crime of the “knock and rob” has surfaced within the Wolf Point community and has resulted in residents willingly handing their money over to criminals.
The crime, this time, is a bit different. Police said people will call community members at their homes and tell them an elaborate story in an attempt to receive money from the potential victim.
Some residents have been told they owe back taxes on their property and need to immediately pay a sum of money to the city. Of course, the money never goes to the city, but into the direct pocket of the thief posing as a city official.
The people enacting these crimes will also call up community college students and tell them they owe a fine or need to pay for their books in advance if they want to remain enrolled in classes.
The last one police have encountered entails a caller telling an elderly person their grandchild is in jail in Canada and the grandparent needs to send money for bail immediately.
These are only three scenarios, so police urge residents to be aware of ploys that sound similar.
To prevent being robbed and taken advantage of, community members should steadfastly follow a few guidelines.
If a person calls over the phone requesting money for any purpose, ask for their name, position title, contact information including phone and email, who they are affiliated with and where their office is located.
These would be simple questions for any legitimate city or community college employee, but could deter a potential criminal.
Even if these answers seem legitimate, continue to do further research. Call the City of Wolf Point, the Fort Peck Community College, the supposed Canadian jail, or the appropriate business organization depending on what the person on the phone claims to represent and ask questions.
If there is any type of fine or financial obligation in relation to a community member, these offices will have it on record.
The police department said residents need to verify, verify, verify and be wary of anyone asking for money over the phone or at the door.
Basically, Wolf Point residents need to be aware and need to do research before simply handing over their money. The WPPD said residents can always contact police if they are unsure about a suspicious phone call because it is better to be proactive and prevent being a victim rather than filing a report after being victimized. The police department said it would also assist in a civil standby with the caller and the recipient of the call to ensure the request for payment is legitimate.
If a community member believes someone attempted to rob them in this manner, they are urged to report it to the Wolf Point Police Department at 653-1093.