Insidious Law Enforcement Scams You Need to Know About

Insidious Law Enforcement Scams You Need to Know About

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Scammers are trying to put a new twist on a very old scam. You’ve probably heard about law enforcement scams. They involve a criminal posing as a police officer to intimidate you into handing over money. These scams take lots of forms, but perhaps their most common is over the phone. 

As criminals become savvier, it gets harder to tell when you’re dealing with a scammer instead of a real law enforcement officer. What can you do to protect yourself from these underhanded schemes? Today, we’ll give you a few tips and pointers to help you determine when you’re dealing with a scammer!

Don’t Panic

When you get a phone call or text message from someone claiming to be a police officer, don’t panic. Your first instinct might be to do whatever they say so you can get out of trouble. Scammers know that most people are scared of paying stiff fines or, worse, going to prison. They think if they threaten you with punitive action you’ll just quickly hand them money to make the situation go away.

Here’s the thing: when you give a scammer money, they vanish. You’ll find no trace of them, and there’s nothing you can do to get your money back. They’ll never use their real name when dealing with you, and they’ll have you send them money through an anonymous channel, so you can’t track where the funds go.

Ask for Confirmation

When someone calls you claiming to be a law enforcement officer, you should ask them for confirmation. Ask them to provide a budge number and tell you what department they work for. Ask for details regarding their superior officers, too. If they won’t, or can’t, give you this information, then you’re not talking to a real officer.

Even if they can provide you with these details, you should do your research. Look up the badge number and see if it matches the name the person on the phone provides. Contact the law enforcement agency through a non-emergency line to confirm that you’re actually wanted in connection with the crime the “officer” says you are. If they confirm that there is no warrant for your arrest, then you’re free to hang up the phone.

Don’t let scammers bully you into handing over your hard-earned money! As soon as you send them money, it’s gone. Take your time, be smart, and don’t send any funds to someone without seeing them face-to-face.