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WPD reports phone scammers are at work

A telephone scam by criminals claiming to be police has been reported in Whiteville.

Major Alan May of the Whiteville Police said the flim-flammers telephone number comes up on telephone caller ID as “Whiteville Police Department.”

“The caller informs you there are warrants for your arrest and if you do not send payment immediately, the police are outside your door waiting to arrest you,” May said.

By using a technique known as caller ID spoofing, the scammers make the incoming call seem legitimate, in order to catch their victims off guard.

“These scammers can be incredibly convincing as they often know your name and the last 4 digits of your social security number,” May said. “However, law enforcement will never request immediate payment to clear up warrants over the phone.”

May said phone scams are effective, but can easily be spotted.

“Con artists continue to think up new tactics to trick victims,” he said, “but  there are ways to spot a phony call quickly.”

May said several tactics are dead giveaways that a call is from a scam artist.

  • Demanding immediate payment.

  • Requiring you to pay a certain way, such as by prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

  • Asking for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

  • Threatening to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.

People who receive the scam calls should never provide any personal information over the phone, May said.

“Do not provide your credit card, Social Security number or banking information to any caller, even if the caller ID shows an official or government telephone number,” he said. “Scammers can use available technology to make any number they want appear on a caller ID.”

If you ever find yourself in this situation,” May said, “it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If the person seems suspicious, hang up the phone, don’t open the door and call the police.”

Stuart Rogers