You may be "plugged in" enough to know about all the latest scams working their way through the Rockford area, but in case you're not (or you have a friend/family member who isn't), the Rockford Police Department wants to make sure you're in the loop.

The Rockford Police Department sent out a release yesterday detailing some of the latest ways scam artists (we used to call them con-men or grifters back in the day) are attempting to separate you from your money. You may have heard of some of these, but others might be something you haven't.

For example, the RPD mentions "fake charities." This scam has been around forever, but it's really picked up steam during this COVID-19 mess. Before you consider a charitable contribution, make sure you're not sending anyone cash, wiring them money, and most of all--don't send gift cards. Any organization that wants you to send gift cards is not an organization you should trust.

Another insidious scam is the "fake accident scam." In many cases, it works like this:

You get a call from someone telling you that a family member or someone you know has been in an accident. You'll be told that they've been seriously injured, are in the hospital, and need money immediately to pay for treatment, medical costs, etc. This scam usually involves a 2nd scammer pretending to be a member of law enforcement, or a doctor/nurse/lawyer who is somehow involved in the phony incident. They'll apply some pretty serious pressure to get you to send them money (or gift cards) as quickly as possible.

The Rockford Police Department has also been hearing about phony utility or service workers who'll knock on your door and tell you that they have to check/look over/fix something in the back of your house. While they're distracting you out back, their buddies are entering the front of your house and stealing as much as they can in a short time. Don't let them do anything until you've verified that they're legit.

Then, there's the "Grandparents Scam." This has been going on for years at this point, which tells you that it works. Here's how it lays out:

If you're the victim of a scam, or you suspect that scam artists are at work, call the Rockford Police Department at 815-966-2900. You can also contact RPD on Facebook and Twitter. You should also get in touch with the Rockford Regional Office of The Better Business Bureau at 815-963-2222.