Fraud Alert: Caller Impersonating Police

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The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has issued an alert about a new consumer fraud. Scammers are making aggressive telephone calls posing as police officers and “spoofing,” or manipulating the telephone number digitally so that it appears on caller identification as an MPD telephone number. The scammer’s intent is to ask for money or to obtain personal identifying information.

These callers usually say that an abandoned car registered in the victim’s name was located with drugs inside of the vehicle. The caller then provides addresses and asks if the victim is familiar with the addresses.

The caller may also say that the victim’s personal information was used to open several bank accounts and that due to that activity, the victim’s social security number was frozen and a new social security number will be issued.

The caller may then call from another number appearing as “911” while still on the line. When that call comes in, they will ask the victim who was calling on the other line and threaten arrest if cooperation is not given.

Most of these scams originate from overseas and use spoofing services that allow a scammer from any part of the world to obtain a phone number with any area code. Often scammers choose a 202 area code to add legitimacy to their scam, because many people are aware that the Metropolitan Police Department, Treasury Department and other Federal Agencies are headquartered in Washington DC.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police Department, or any other law enforcement agency asking for money or any personal identifying information, MPD suggests that you immediately hang up.  Under no circumstances should you engage in conversation or provide any personal information, officers caution.

If you have been targeted by this scam, please report the incident by completing the following online report:   http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml

Also contact the Federal Trade Commission using the “FTC Complaint Assistant” at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

If you have further questions regarding this scam, please contact the Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit at 202-727-4159 or mpd.fraud-unit@dc.gov