Scammers posing as law-enforcement officers are cold-calling people and tricking them into paying over the phone to resolve supposedly outstanding warrants. The scammers warn victims that, if they don’t pay the requested fee, police may come to their home and arrest them.
Often, the scammers will instruct victims to go out and purchase a pre-paid debit card such as Green Dot and then call them back on a specified number.
When victims call back, the scammers ask for the card number and then transfer the pre-paid funds to an offshore account. Once the stolen funds are transferred, they can be difficult to trace.
The scammers are reportedly quite skilled at impersonating police officers and are often able to convince victims that they are legitimate. When victims call back on the number provided, the scammers may identify their “office” as a seemingly legitimate entity such as the ‘County Warrants Department’. This simple ruse may further convince victims that the scammer’s claims are true.
The seeming authority of the scammers can be intimidating to some potential victims. The perceived threat of imminent arrest if they do not comply can cause some victims to panic and pay up as instructed.
This type of scam is certainly nothing new and has been around in various forms for many years.
The scammers are also using variations of the old jury duty phone scam to steal money from victims.
Police will never call you and demand an immediate payment to resolve an outstanding warrant. If you receive such a suspect call, do not give the caller any personal and financial information and do not comply with their instructions.
If in doubt, call your local police to check. Do not use a phone number provider by the caller. Find a number for police in a local phone directory.