Crime Keeps Ringing - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Crime Keeps Ringing

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KALISPELL -

The Flathead has seen a pretty steady stream of fraud over the phone for several years, but a recent rash has authorities concerned.

The amount can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

"I'm aware of one victim who lost upwards of $30,000 just sending small checks at a time trying to claim a prize," said Wade Rademacher with the Kalispell Police Department.

Over the phone scams asking for bank account information or some upfront money in exchange for a payoff down the road have hit the Valley hard over the years.

"We've been receiving reports of scams as far back as I can remember," said Rademacher.

Many of these scams are aimed at the elderly, but anyone could be targeted. In situations like these: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

"A lot of these scams are tough for us to investigate because they're from people out of the area, sometimes out of the country," said Rademacher.

The Kalispell Police Department warns citizens against buying from unfamiliar companies, paying in advance for services or a "free prize," and handing out personal, financial information to unknown callers.

The general rule of thumb for most officers is: if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

If you are a victim of fraud over the phone, or you have gotten a suspicious call, you can call the Montana Office of Consumer Protection at 1.800.481.6896.

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