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Fraudsters Pose as Police, Ask for Money to Solve Outstanding Warrant Issue

2014-09-10 20:20
Crooks are growing bolder and impersonate US police officers over the phone, asking victims to make a payment via pre-pay services for an issue related to an alleged outstanding warrant.

The scam has been reported by citizens of Twin Falls, Idaho, and Portsmouth, Virginia, but it may be carried out at a broader scale.

Scammers use a direct approach

Crooks simply call the victim telling them that there is an outstanding warrant on their name; the reason varies from missing jury duty to traffic tickets.

In order to solve the issue, the victim is asked to pay a fine, which has been reported in some cases to be as large as $400 / €309.

The crooks offer payment instructions, guiding the victim to purchase pre-paid cards and then asking for the code that enables them to make the transaction. Pre-pay services are very difficult to trace, and most of the time, the money is not recovered.

If the victim is suspicious or does not wish to comply, the scammers become more aggressive and threaten with arrest and jail time.

Crooks have sharp social engineering skills

Twin Falls publication KMVT reports that in one of the cases the victim detected the perpetrator as having a “strong accent,” which indicates that the crooks may be calling from overseas.

To make the deceit more convincing, the scammers leave a phone number to be contacted with the payment information. In some cases, the voicemail message kicks in, confirming that the police warrant division has been contacted; this tactic is used to eliminate any suspicions.

According to WTKR, the Portsmouth Police Department recorded reports about the scam in the last several days. One victim said that the fake police officer identified himself as Lieutenant Michael Lewis and instructed them to buy a “Green Dot” card.

There is no information about the number of victims that fell for this trick, but authorities claim that there are more citizens deceived than the filed reports.

Armed with great social engineering skills, the scammers could easily trick more gullible victims into shelling out the money; they would insist with jail time threats if they encounter resistance and often make a second call.

Law enforcement representatives do not call citizens over missing jury duty and do not solve outstanding warrants over the phone. And they definitely do not ask for payment this way. These matters can be dealt with either at the police station or at the court house.

Source: -tnarraW-gnidnatstuO-evloS-ot-yenoM-rof-ksA-eciloP-sA-esoP-sretsduarF/swen/moc.aideptfos.swen

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