Alexandria police warn of scam 'spoofing' department's phone num - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Alexandria police warn of scam 'spoofing' department's phone number

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -

Alexandria police are warning of a scammer who has been "spoofing" the department's non-emergency line phone number.

Police say they got more than 20 calls on Monday from residents confused about why a police officer would be calling them in this way. The answer is that there is no police officer actually making these calls.

“It's called spoofing,” said Crystal Nosal, spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department. “It's a tech term for when someone uses a program to mask their phone number from where they are calling from. In this case, they used a police department non-emergency number and called at least 20 people on Monday.

Police say one or more suspects is involved in this fraudulent “spoofing.” They say the number 703-746-4444 will pop up on your caller ID. The scammer would leave messages with some and threatened others over the phone saying they would be arrested if they didn't pay.

“The suspect would ID himself as an officer, tell people that they had outstanding fines, their car would be towed or it needed to be brought to the station,” said Nosal. “They would start off with asking for people's information -- ID numbers, social security numbers – things like that. And if you stay on the phone long enough, they are going to ask you to pay money or try to convince you to make a payment to them using like a MoneyPak card. And once money is on there, you're not getting it back.”

Investigators say the citizens they spoke with didn't comply with the caller's demands. Police say that is the correct action to take because they stress this is not how they do business.

“Use common sense when answering the phone and listen to what the person is saying,” Nosal said. “The police department is not going to solicit money over the phone, talk about fines over the phone or ask you to pay for them using a MoneyPak.”

That 703-746-4444 number is still the working Alexandria Police Department's non-emergency number, but spoofing doesn't work in reverse, so if you call that number back, you will get a legitimate city employee.


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