PPB Releases Videos and Resources on Avoiding Common Fraud Schemes

Blog Post
WARNING: Fraud Alert
The Portland Police Bureau is releasing a series of videos and social media posts with resources aimed at various frauds and phone scams that continue to widely circulate in our community.

Telephone scams impersonating a law enforcement officer are some of the most popular fraud schemes. A caller will say there is a warrant for a person's arrest and they need to deposit money into a specified account. Or a caller will say they are an officer, sheriff or from border patrol. Hang up! No warrant service or law enforcement officer will ask you for money.

Be aware of communication from what appears to be your bank, whether it be an email, phone or text. Never provide personal information such as a PIN, password, or one time login code to someone who contacts you and claims to be your bank. If you call them, they may ask for it, but never the other way around.

For more information, visit: Banks Never Ask That

After the news of the proposed student debt relief, this subject has become a growing targeted scam. Here are some examples of false claims:

** “Act immediately to qualify for student loan forgiveness before the program is discontinued.”

** “Your student loans may qualify for complete discharge. Enrollments are first come, first served.”

** “Student alerts: Your student loan is flagged for forgiveness pending verification. Call now!”

Scammers will frequently request an up-front or monthly fee while promising immediate and total cancellation. They may even ask for your FSA ID (account username and password). All of these should be red flags. Most government forgiveness programs require years of qualifying payments and/or employment in certain fields before forgiving loans. And, of course, the Department of Education and its partners will never ask for your FSA ID password. Be aware that currently people who have applied for college forgiveness are receiving emails from the Department of Education that are valid, but the emails do not request any additional information.

Visit the US Department of Education to learn more: Avoid Student Load Forgiveness Scams

Whenever you use a debit card at a fuel pump, ATM, or using any payment processing terminal, cover up your hand when entering your PIN. Skimmers are still in use today and a pin-hole camera can be used to catch your PIN number if you don’t cover your hand. Look closely at ATMs and be aware of anything suspicious. Try to use ATMs located inside your bank.


In the past year Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County residents reported 18,441 complaints with a $36,329,776 amount paid or lost. The top complaints involved business imposters, government imposters, unsolicited text messages and emails, and online shopping.

If you are a victim of fraud, file a police report by calling the non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333. Some fraud reports can also be taken online.

After doing that, victims should then also file a fraud complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or an ID Theft report and obtain a recovery plan. If the fraud involves the internet, you can file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Our Property Crime Detectives have access to both databases and can use them when identifying additional victims related to a subject of an investigation.