The police department of Portland, OR recently issued a public notice in an attempt to alert citizens against fraud attempts that involve police imposters. Several incidents were reported in the last few months by people who received calls from alleged law enforcement officials. They were all threatened with arrest if they would not agree to pay up fines on the phone for offenses they had not committed.
While many fell prey to the scam, some took the matter to their local police department which prompted the move. A spokesperson for the City of Portland PD offered insight on the modus operandi being used by the scammers. It was clarified that one of the reasons why so many people were being misled is because the fraudsters had managed to spoof their phone number. So, when a caller ID picks up the number, it shows that the call is being made from the Portland Police Department.
This is how the scammers work!
Those who receive the call are told that they will either be arrested for missing a court date or for an unpaid fine and are asked to pay the amount over the phone.
Another approach used by the scammers is to tell the victims about one of their family members who has been arrested. Then, money is demanded by saying that the person being held in custody will only be released if they immediately pay the fine over the phone.
The targets of these scams
Typically, calls are being made to seniors and those with English as a second language because they are considered easy targets who may give in to the threats. However, Portland Cops warned residents that once these scammers get the credit card details of their victims, they continue to withdraw money using the information.
If you receive such a call and are in doubt about the veracity of the claims being made, get in touch with the local law enforcement agency or the court even if you know that you have an unpaid citation to your name. Whatever you do, never surrender financial information to anybody on the phone.