EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Calls have been going out across the area and the people on the other line may sound convincing, but police say the callers are just after your hard-earned money.
The Eau Claire Police Department said it has gotten several calls in the last week from people who believe they are targets of a phone scam.
Experts say this is a new twist on an old scam and people should watch out for the criminals masquerading as the U.S. government to get your money.
“The caller was claiming to be an officer with U.S. Customs, indicating they had a package they had to open and the package contained a large amount of cash,” said Officer Kyle Roder.
And in order to get that big pay-off of $800,000, Officer Roder said the scammer told people they'd have to send them $4,000.
Roder said thankfully none of the local people who called police fell for it.
WEAU 13 News talked to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection about the ways the scammers come after you.
“These could have been numbers that were stolen through a different scam or they were stolen through an information request,” said Jerad Albracht, the Communications Specialist for the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Albracht said phone, e-mail and postal scams often come from overseas with the crooks using tricky methods.
“The caller ids can be made to say whatever they want it to say so you can think you’re getting a local call when in fact it’s an international call,” Albracht said.
And why are people in Eau Claire being targeted?
“It could be that a computer is tuned to an area at random and it's just going to dial through the area code until they get someone to pick up,” Albracht said.
He said people should also look out for scams that ask you to wire funds or purchase a money card.
“Do a Google search and see what people say. Often that’s enough to get you a good idea if you're walking into a scam,” Albracht said.
“If somebody wants money from you, and you don't know the person calling you and they want you to send money, that's a red flag right there,”
Experts say you should never give out any personal or financial information on the phone.
If you suspect a scammer is after you, Roder said you can call your local law enforcement.
You can also call the Wisconsin Consumer Protection hotline at 1-800-422-7128.