The Norfolk, Virginia, police department has warned residents about a new scam targeting US residents. The scam reportedly involves a criminal calling victims’ cell phones and posing as a police officer. The scammer will claim during the call that the victim missed a court date and needs to pay back legal fines to avoid jail time.
It’s easy to be caught off-guard by a phone call from the police. You don’t want to have a reputation as a lawbreaker, and the last thing you want to do is land in legal trouble. As such, you’re likely to go along with whatever the person on the phone tells you to do. However, there are some easy ways to spot these scams and send the criminals on their way.
The first step toward stopping thieves is identifying when you’re being targeted by one. Spotting the scam isn’t always easy. When you receive a phone call from a serious-sounding police officer, your first instinct is to be cooperative. However, this isn’t the right attitude to take when you receive phone calls from people who claim to be police officers.
The police might reach out to you via phone, but it’s unusual for them to do so. Typically, when the police call you, it’s to arrange a time to speak with you. Authorities won’t call you to ask for money over the phone. Outstanding debts with the city are handled through your local municipal court, not over the phone.
Scammers prefer their victims to pay them with unusual methods. For instance, many scammers prefer payment via Visa gift cards or Green Dot MoneyPak cards. These cards are untraceable and irreversible, making them perfect for thieves.
If you get a phone call from someone who demands immediate payment in the form of these kinds of gift cards, you can ignore them. The person is trying to steal from you. Disregard any threats these people make: they’re con artists hiding behind malicious software that allows them to scramble their phone numbers.
Forward any information you have on scammers to your local police department. The best way to combat phone scam crimes is to report their activity to the authorities. That way, police can thoroughly investigate the criminals. Remember, anyone who says they are a police officer and demands payment over the phone isn’t who they say they are.