Spoofing calls made using Jamestown Police Department's number
The Jamestown Police Department posted a scam alert on its Facebook page.
JAMESTOWN — The Jamestown Police Department is warning people about a scam where spoofing calls are made using the agency’s phone number to solicit money.
A call was made to the Jamestown Police Department at about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, from a bank to report a customer who had fallen for a scam, according to the log of calls from the Stutsman County Communication Center.
“The female received a call from the phone number 701.252.2414 and was told to go to Walmart and buy gift cards,” the call log said.
Lt. Sid Mann, a detective with the Jamestown Police Department, posted a scam alert on the department’s Facebook page shortly after that says the caller is asking an individual to go to a bank and withdraw money. The scammer will also send a picture of a set of barcodes to add money to, the Facebook post says.
“They are claiming to be a Law Enforcement Officer and claiming that you owe money or else you will be arrested,” the Facebook post says. “Law Enforcement Agencies DO NOT Operate this way. We never solicit money over the phone. We rarely call and advise that people have warrants and to post bond over the phone. The only place that you should take money to pay a fine or post bond is the Stutsman County Correctional Center, Stutsman County Clerk of Court, or Jamestown Municipal Court. These places DO accept online payments but you will be sent to the websites by those entities.”
The spoofing caller told the potential victim that she had a warrant out for her arrest, Mann said.
“The other thing is the police are never going to tell somebody to make a payment with a gift card plus they are not going to call you anyways,” said Detective Capt. LeRoy Gross with the Jamestown Police Department. “If you have a warrant for your arrest, they are probably going to come around and come looking for you. They are not going to tell you, ‘Hey you need to pay the money right now.’”
The new part of this type of scam — spoofing — is sending a photo of barcodes to add funds to, Mann said.
“They don’t even have to get a gift card and mail it any more,” he said.
Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise his or her identity, according to Federal Communications Commission’s website. Scammers will often use neighbor spoofing so the incoming call appears to be coming from a local number or will spoof a number from a known and trusted company or a government agency. When individuals answer those calls, scammers use scam scripts to try to steal money or collect personal information to be used in fraudulent activities.
“Spoofing has been going on for a very long time,” Gross said.
If individuals receive spoofing calls, they should hang up and call the number on the caller ID to speak with the person who supposedly called, Gross said.
“This falls back to the grandparents scam,” he said. “Somebody will call and say, ‘Hi grandma. I’ve been in an accident. I need some money. Then supposedly an attorney will come on the phone and then tell these people how to wire the money. If the grandparents would just call the number that they have for their granddaughter, they would see that their granddaughter is sitting in college and not in an accident.”
Gross said there is nothing that the Police Department can do to block phone numbers from being used in spoofing calls. He said the Police Department tries to teach individuals not to panic when they receive spoofing calls or to be wary of a scam, hang up and then call the actual number which will go to the rightful owner of the number.
“If it’s a scam where they call and ask for your information, the best way to verify is to call the Police Department back because spoofing only works one way,” Mann said.
Gross said law enforcement agencies will never suggest using a gift card or wiring money.“We don’t make calls for payment in lieu of arrest,” he said.
“The police do not do that. … Just go to your local police department or sheriff’s office and ask them what this is all about. There is no reason to panic. There are so many scams going on.”