Michigan Attorney General Warns Of Law Enforcement Phone Scam
Scammers are now spoofing law enforcement phone numbers to steal your money.
Every day it seems there is a new scam. The latest scam involves thieves "spoofing" legitimate law enforcement phone numbers to con hard-working Michiganders out of money.
According to Wikipedia, a spoofing attack is a situation in which a person or program successfully identifies as another by falsifying data, to gain an illegitimate advantage.
Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel warns that scammers posing as law enforcement agencies or other companies demanding money or gift cards because the victim allegedly has a warrant out for their arrest.
The reason this one has been successful for the scammers is their ability to make it appear that call has originated from a legitimate law enforcement agency. The scammer tells the victim that the victim’s name is on a package of drugs and money and/or there is a warrant out for their arrest.
The scammer then tells the victim to wire money and/or purchase gift cards to avoid arrest. They are then instructed to provide the gift card numbers over the phone to take care of the warrant.
The Michigan Attorney General's Office says that although gift card scams are not new, they have resurfaced in recent weeks across the state – including Calhoun, Kent, and Oakland counties – with bad actors posing as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, deputies, or, in some cases even the local Chief of Police.
Make sure to be aware that no law enforcement agency will ever contact you by phone demanding that you pay, regardless of payment method, for your warrant to disappear. Spoofing allows scammers to disguise their actual phone numbers and instead show a local phone number on the caller ID. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately. Do not fall for it. ~Michigan Attorney General Nessel
In the heat of the moment, when you are scared, it's hard to take a minute to stop and think. But, that is precisely what you need to do. The scammer does not want you to, because given a moment to think about it, how likely are you to purchase a gift card in exchange for not being served with an arrest warrant? The scammer hopes that you will respond immediately and out of fear.
If you believe you are the target of a scam but want to be sure, hang up the phone immediately and independently verify the identity of the caller. Call the phone number you know to be correct and never give out any personal information to someone who initiates a phone call.