New phone scam brewing in Denver bars

DENVER – While out for some fun and libations, smartphones are being stolen from unsuspecting patrons. Criminals know how popular and easy it is for friends to transfer money to each other through apps and see this as an opportunity, according to Denver police.

So to raise awareness and help to prevent these crimes, the Denver Police Department is sharing this scenario, which is similar to reports taken:

(Scene: Downtown Denver bar, dimly lit, crowded)
While out with her friends, Jessica (fictitious name) keeps her phone in her purse. She soon realizes that her phone is missing. After several failed attempts to find it that night, Jessica calls her phone in the morning and is excited to hear someone answer. The person on the other end says something like, “Hey, your phone was turned into the bar you were at last night and I am the manager. Can you please give me your passcode so I can ensure this is your phone?” Jessica, feeling elated that her phone is safe, thinks for a second that maybe she shouldn’t give a stranger her code, but decides to provide it, since he said he was a manager at the bar where she lost it. Jessica tells him the code to “verify” it’s her phone.

(Cue the sad music). Jessica has just been scammed. Little does she know, the person with her phone doesn’t work at the bar and he now has access to more than her personal information, photos, etc.! First, the scammer quickly changes all her passwords so she can no longer access it. Then he moves money via the apps that she uses to reimburse her friends, which are tied to her bank account. Now, not only is her phone truly gone, but so is her money. (End scene).

Since May of 2017, there have been 39 cases similar to the scenario described above reported to Denver Police, and to help you avoid becoming victim to this scam, DPD offers the following tips:

1. Always keep your phone secured. If it is in a bag or purse, make sure the bag/purse is closed and that the phone is not in a place from which it can be easily grabbed.
2. Create complex passcodes so the bad guys can’t easily guess.
3. Do not link payment apps to other accounts, especially public ones (social media).
4. Do not give your PIN, passcode, or other passwords out at any time, to anyone.
5. If your phone is missing or stolen, log on to your account and wipe all your personal information and deactivate any payment accounts immediately.

 

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