Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Telephone Scammer identifying themselves as Tacoma Police

Over the last couple of weeks, Tacoma Police have seen and increase in the number of telephone scams. What is particularly troublesome about this recent increase is one in which the caller identifies themselves a member of the Tacoma Police Department. In the recent incident, the caller receives a message to call (803) 956-9642 and come in contact with "Officer Jeffery Gibson". They then called the number and a female answered the phone and said something similar to "South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, how may I direct your call?" The caller asked to speak to speak with Officer Gibson, at which time she was transferred. The man who identified himself as "Officer Jeffery Gibson" informed the caller that there is a judgment against her and a warrant for her arrest. He told her that she defrauded on a payment loan and he gave the caller information, including bank account, home address, e-mail address, and place of employment, the sort of convincing information causes one to believe that the man was actually a Law Enforcement Officer. He went on to tell her that he's not forcing her to pay the fine, but warned that she better take care of the matter, because he will call Washington State Authorities and have her arrested on a $10K fine with no bail for a Federal crime. He then instructed her to either obtain a pre-paid credit card for the above amount, or send a money order via Western Union. The investigation determined that the caller was "spoofing" the phone numbers for caller ID to make it appear that they were in fact legitimate phone numbers associated with the Tacoma Police Department. The real phone numbers likely lead to outside the country making it difficult for further investigation. The Tacoma Police Department does not call individuals who fines for criminal matters. We do not solicit payment information for fines and we certainly do not threaten to arrest individuals who have not paid their civil fines. If you receive this type of call, please do not pay the amount of money asked. Do not complete any paperwork and return via fax and do not provide any personal information such as social security number, date of birth, or any other sensitive information. Call the non-emergency police number of 798-4721 to report the matter as well as log on to the Federal Trade Commission complaint website (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en) and Washington Attorney General’s Office complaint website (http://www.atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx) and file complaints.