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Public Notice: Scam Alert

The Whiteville Police Department has been made aware of a recent telephone scam where the caller ID shows up as the WHITEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT. The caller informs you there are warrant(s) for your arrest and if you do not send payment immediately, the police are outside your door waiting to arrest you.

By using 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. However, law enforcement will never request immediate payment to clear up warrants over the phone.

How You Can Spot a Phone Scam

While con artists continue to think up new tactics to trick victims, there are ways to spot a phony call quickly. If a caller tries one of these measures - you'll know it's a scam:

1. Demanding immediate payment.

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

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

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

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. Scammers use available technology to make any number they want appear on a caller ID.

Before you respond to any type of request like this, follow these guidelines from the FTC to protect yourself.

• Stop — before you wire money to anyone. Call the person, the government agency, or someone else you trust. Get the real story. Then decide what to do. No government agency will ever ask you to wire money.

• Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have gotten one of these calls or emails, but the chances are you know someone who has.

Bottom line: If you ever find yourself in this situation, 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!

Bonnie Williams