Scam Alert

Protecting the safety and welfare of the community remains a top priority for the City of Mason. Mason Police Department’s Campus Safety Team continues its proactive approach in providing resources, education and tools to protect community members against threats to citizen safety and welfare.

Unfortunately, internet and phone scams have become increasingly popular ways for criminals to deceive and defraud individuals. These criminals often target vulnerable audiences such as the senior population. Mason Police Department is educating the public on how to recognize the different types of scams and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.

Elder Fraud

A very common scamming method in today’s society is a criminal calling to ask for money or gift cards to be sent for payment. The criminal caller will often identify themselves as a person of authority, such as a police officer, attorney or some other representative of the legal system. The criminal will convey that the individual or a relative is part of a criminal investigation or has an active warrant for their arrest. These criminals often use fear and the legal system as a method to scare individuals to not inform anyone about the fraudulent demand. These criminals often state that if the individual hangs up, they will be arrested.  Please note that this is always a scam. The government or any other representative of the legal system would never demand money over the phone or ask an individual to provide a form of payment via a gift card.  

Romance Scams

Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. Learn more about romance scams and tips to protect yourself on the FBI’s website here

Lottery Scams

Another current popular type of scam is lottery scams. Lottery scams often come in the form of criminals contacting an individual via phone, email or text message stating that the individual has won a sweepstake, lottery or prize. There are three signs of a lottery scam – you have to pay to get your prize, the criminal indicates that providing payment increases your odds of winning, or you have to provide your financial information. Learn more about lottery scams and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim here.


Sextortion is an online exploitation crime often utilizing social media platforms, where the perpetrators use coercive tactics to obtain exploitative content or images from the victim. The criminals will then blackmail the victims into sending money or gift cards by threatening to release the exploitative content to family and friends if their demands are not met. Suspects in these cases will often utilize a “hacked” account of an acquaintance or create look-a-like accounts to make initial contact with the victims. The fake accounts will typically be of an individual of the opposite gender and similar age. They utilize threats of violence and time-pressure tactics to coerce the victim’s into sending money. Even after sending money, the demands will continue and increase in amount.  Often, the suspects will follow through with their threat regardless. Law enforcement trends indicate that juveniles are often the victim of sextortion. Individuals are cautioned to never send exploitative material to anyone online through any platform. If they were to fall victim to this scam, they are advised to never send an individual money, cease communication, block the perpetrators, tell their parents if they are a juvenile and contact Mason Police Department.

For a thorough list of common scams and how to protect yourself, visit the FBI’s website.

If you have a question or concern regarding the legitimacy of a call or electronic communication or believe you may have been a victim of a scam, please contact the Mason Police Department at 513.229.8560 to speak directly with an officer.