The Mankato Department of Public safety is urging people to take steps to ensure that they aren’t victimized by financial crimes, and officials say it happens with relative frequency.

Mankato Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Amy Vokal.

Deputy Director Amy Vokal said that within the past two weeks, there have been at least two scams that successfully targeted Mankato businesses; one scam bilked the business of $700, and another nearly $6,000.

She said the scams will often change slightly as the criminals work to lure in more unsuspecting people. “This scam involved somebody calling and saying, ‘I am from corporate headquarters of the business and we are under federal investigation. Take money out of the safe and then go to Walmart and buy gift cards, change that in for gift cards, and then call and give me the number,'” Vokal explained.

Vokal said it’s not as surprising that the employee fell into the trap as some may think, “Because these people are really, really, really good at what they do. They’re very convincing; the employee thought this was someone calling from corporate, did it, and after he did it sat and thought about what actually happened.”

Whenever a business or resident receives a call that they believe could be a scam, Vokal urges them to make use of an online tool the FBI maintains. It allows users to search for a possible scam by using keywords and phrases and also file a complaint if they have been victimized. “It is the Internet Crime Complaint Center,” she said, and added, “It has every scam ever heard of on there.”

Friday on KTOE News and ktoe.com we’ll touch on other types of scams that have impacted people in the community, including grandparents and the refugee community.