Brookings police issue scam warning

(Metro illustration)

BROOKINGS — The Brookings Police Department is warning local businesses about a scam where callers impersonate law enforcement officers.

According to a news release from the BPD, they responded to an emergency call where a manager reported that an employee had taken nearly $1,200 from a local business. When police located the employee, they found them on the phone with a scammer impersonating a member of the South Dakota State Police.

“An officer spoke with the individual on the other end of the phone who continued to pose as a lieutenant with the South Dakota State Police, running a sting operation. After a series of brief questions, it was determined the individual on the phone was not associated with any law enforcement agency, and was orchestrating a scam,” the release reads.

The scammer apparently called the employee on the business telephone line and said he was running a sting operation and needed the employee’s help to retrieve money stolen from the business. They told the employee not to tell anyone else and call them back from a personal cellphone, lest they give away the sting. The scammer then told the employee to take cash from the business, drive to Hy-Vee and load MoneyLink cards with varying amounts of money.

The investigation into the caller and their location is ongoing at this time, police said.

“Do not give anyone any personal information, account information, or purchase any type of money card, or gift card if requested to do so over the telephone,” BPD Detective Adam Smith, said in a release.

“The Brookings Police Department, or any law enforcement agency for that matter, will never contact anyone by telephone and ask for personal (or) account information, or payment of any kind to assist with police activities.”

The BPD reminds residents to not give anyone any personal information, or account information, or purchase any type of money card, or gift card if requested to do so over the telephone. Anyone receiving such calls is urged to hang up and report the incident to their local law enforcement agency.