Kent Co. Sheriff Warns of Law Enforcement Impersonation Phone Scam
It’s a new week, and a new warning of phone scams happening in West Michigan.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department released a warning that people are getting called by scammers posing as legit law enforcement officers who “threaten to arrest the victim, extort the victim with physical or financial harm, or release sensitive data if money is not sent.”
Police say that scammers will call, and sometimes actually clone or spoof a legitimate law enforcement number to make their call seem more legit. The press release from KCSD references one such call that came from a spoofed number that looked like it was a Kent County Sheriff’s Office South Substation. Once the scammers have you on the phone, they then try to get you to get money from your bank account or purchase a prepaid gift card or credit card and then ask for the card numbers. Which by the way, real police officers never ask for gift cards as payment, nor are they real keen on taking cash from you… that’s usually considered a bribe.
So, beyond an officer not asking for gift cards as payment, here are some other tricks or scams to watch out for, so you don’t become a victim,
A stranger sends you a check and asks you to cash it while keeping some of the money. This is a different variation of the Craig’s List transaction where the buyer/sender “accidentally” overpays and asks you to cash the fraudulent check and send them the amount of the overpayment. Banks will most likely cash the check and not realize the check is forged until several days later. You are then financially responsible for the amount of the bad check.
A person says they have found a virus on your computer. They ask for remote access to the computer and then hold the computer hostage until a ransom is paid.
A person contacts you over the phone and claims to be your relative who has been arrested or injured in an accident. They ask you to provide them with the number of a prepaid credit card for bond money or medical expenses.
A person claims that your account has been hacked and that your social security number is being placed on hold.
Other tips from the Kent County Sheriff's Department, to keep you from falling victim to any new phone scams: don't answer phone numbers you don’t know and never give out your social security number or bank account information to anyone who calls you. Also, never send money to people you don’t know, which includes someone saying they’re a police officer.
Police say If you are in doubt about the person you’re dealing with, hang up the phone and call the place they claim to be from, and verify that that place is wanting or needing to do business with you.