Unfortunately, during times of crisis, phishing scams tend to rise as scammers attempt to prey on unsuspecting victims.
It has come to our attention that some of our citizens have been receiving FAKE emails from someone posing as our mayor, Stephen Santellana, asking them to purchase gift cards to be given out as surprise gifts to dedicated staff.
The scammer goes on to instruct the recipient to go to Best Buy or CVS to purchase 5 gift cards in the amount of $100 each ($500 in total) from either Wal-Mart or EBAY and then send them pictures of the cards once they are purchased.
PLEASE DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM! THESE EMAILS ARE NOT FROM OUR MAYOR!
Be very cautious if you receive one of these emails or ones similar to it. These types of emails are always scams. Most of them are written using poor grammar containing multiple misspellings. Do not open them, reply to them, or click on any links contained within them.
If you feel that you have been a victim of this scam, please contact us at 940-761-7792. You can also report it to the Federal Trade Commission at
On 01-28-20, at approx 0728 hrs, officers were conducting a suspicious vehicle/person check near 10th and Denver when they encountered 31 year old Jennifer Solomon. Solomon was a wanted fugitive for fraud out of Payne County, Oklahoma, and taken into custody. Search incident to arrest found Solomon to be in possession of 6.7 grams of methamphetamine. At the time of the arrest, Solomon was within 1000 ft of a school which placed her in a drug free zone.
Solomon was transported to jail on her fraud warrant and also charged with Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance in a Drug Free Zone.
On 01-14-20, Officers observed a reported stolen vehicle traveling north in the 4300 blk of Boren Ave. When the vehicle stopped at the stop sign at Boren and Call Field, the two female occupants got out of the vehicle and switched positions (driver/passenger) and took off again. The vehicle was stopped in the 3100 blk of Lawrence Rd and the occupants were identified as Taleasha Solomon, age 34, and Trinity Noland, age 35.
During an inventory of the stolen vehicle, several other stolen items were located including a checkbook and more than 50 stolen credit cards. In addition, a purse was found under the center console, between the two occupants, that contained a pipe, several syringes, and a white powdery substance inside of a plastic baggy. The white powder field tested positive for methamphetamine.
Both Solomon and Noland were arrested and charged with the following:
Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle – SJF
Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information – F/1
Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 < 1g – SJF
The Wichita Falls Police Department would like to inform our citizens of a trend that has been occurring in and around the state called Bank Jugging.
What is “Bank Jugging”?
Bank Jugging is a term used to describe suspects that sit in bank parking lots to watch customers and then follow those people they believe are in possession of cash. The suspects then look for an opportunity to burglarize and steal the money left unattended or rob the victim, taking the money by force.
Things to be aware of while banking:
* Conceal any cash prior to leaving bank. Never openly carry bank bags, envelopes or coin boxes.
* Juggers will follow victims out of the parking lot.
* Vehicles arriving at bank with no occupants entering the bank.
* Vehicles with dark tinted windows with little or no visibility of the occupants.
* Watch for occupied vehicles backed into parking spaces with clear view of the front doors of the bank, ATM or commercial drive thru line.
* Notify police if you feel you have been followed from a bank.
Tips on how to protect yourself:
* Always be aware of your surroundings.
* Conceal money before leaving the bank. Never openly carry bank bags, envelopes or coin boxes.
* Be aware of anyone following you from the area of a bank.
* If you suspect you are being targeted, call 911 from your cell phone and stay on the line until marked police units can locate you.
* Do not leave or try to hide your bank bag or bank envelope in your vehicle when you exit at your next destination, even if it’s your residence.
The Wichita Falls Police Department has received information in regards to counterfeit checks being passed and would like to remind you of a few tips to help you avoid becoming a victim.
Even if the check has “cleared,” you may not be in the clear. Under federal law, banks must make deposited funds available quickly, but just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good, even if it’s a cashier’s check or money order. If you have any questions about whether or not the check is good, talk to your banker. Be sure to explain the source of the check, the reasons it was sent to you, and whether you are being asked to wire money back.
Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the check.Scam artists are using sophisticated technology to create counterfeit checks that mirror the appearance of legitimate checks. Some are counterfeit money orders, some are phony cashier’s checks and others look like they are from legitimate business accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but someone has dummied up the checks without their knowledge.
Never ‘pay to play.’ There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back or send you more than the exact amount —that’s a red flag that it’s a scam. If a stranger wants to pay you for something, insist on a cashier’s check for the exact amount, preferably from a local bank or one with a local branch.
Do not respond to online solicitations for “easy money.”Social media scams like card cracking may offer “quick ways to earn extra cash,” but keep in mind that easy money is rarely legal money.
Verify the requestor before you wire or issue a check.It is important to know who you are sending money to before you send it. Just because someone contacted you doesn’t mean they are a trusted source.
Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.Bank staff are experts in spotting fraudulent checks. If you think someone is trying to pull a fake check scam, don’t deposit it—report it. Contact your bank and report it to the Federal Trade Commission or The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.
The Wichita Falls Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit would like to inform people of the dangers of a re-packaging Identity Theft scam.
An individual(s) will compromise the victim’s identity and begin to purchase items in their name. Often times they will have the items that were fraudulently purchased shipped to the victim’s address. The suspects will then track the packages and when they are delivered/left at the victim’s home the suspect(s) will then simply go up and take the packages. Often times the victim will never know their identity has been compromised until it is too late.
If you believe that you are the victim of identity theft or have any information regarding possible suspects involved in identity theft you are encouraged to contact the WFPD at 720-5000.
Over the past couple of weeks the Wichita Falls Police Department has seen an increase in counterfeit bills being reported in the local area. The majority of the bills are 100’s. At this time there are little leads on suspect(s).
A way to prevent from becoming a victim is to gain knowledge. You can do that by learning what security features are incorporated into each bill. The following link is a PDF describing security features on various bills: (https://www.secretservice.gov/data/KnowYourMoney.pdf).
According to recent reports there has been a new scam popping up locally which is having a profound effect on local businesses.
The scam typically will go something like this: an unknown subject (scammer) calls to speak with an employee (manager or assistant manager) and convinces him or her that they are with corporate offices or are detectives of an investigating agency. The scammer then convinces the employee they are conducting an investigation into bad business practices or embezzlement’s or other heinous crimes being committed by the owner or General Manager.
The scammer then has the employee get on their cell phone and not hang up as they listen to everything going on in the background and all along telling the employee exactly what to do. The scammer convinces the employee to take all the money from the register(s) and leave the business.
The scammer then directs the employee to go to different locations such as Wal-Mart, CVS, Market Street, etc. The scammer tells the employee to put the money on green dots cards or the like and send them pictures or tell them the number on the back so he/she can access the money as quickly as possible. Once this is done, the money is gone and cannot be retrieved. The employee has been scammed and the business is out the money.
Businesses need to speak to their employees about this ongoing scam ASAP and put procedures in place to effectively mitigate loss. If you have any questions about a particular situation contact the Wichita Falls Police Department at 940-761-7792.
Financial crime scams continue to hit our area. Recently the Wichita Falls Police Department has received reports in which victims have been contacted by someone stating they are with Apple and telling the victims that they have a virus on their device. The victims are directed by the caller to purchase prepaid iTunes gift cards and provide the caller with the PIN for each card in order to resolve the issue.
It is recommended that you use caution when receiving unsolicited calls requesting that you provide personal information (name, date of birth, etc.), passwords, financial information, purchase gift cards or send money.
Take down the caller’s information (name, business, phone number, etc.) and then you can follow up with the business to determine whether or not the request being made is legitimate.
If you have questions or concerns contact the Financial Crimes Unit at (940)761-7762.
Click the link below for additional information on recent scams.