Heads up, there’s a police phone scam in the area

(Southside Daily file)
(Southside Daily file)

The Virginia Beach Police Department wants community members to be aware of a phone scam that is active in the area.

The VBPD says they have received reports that people have been receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be members of their Police Department.

As of today, law enforcement impersonator has:

  • Referred to the community member they are calling by name.
  • Tells the community member they either have an outstanding warrant, or that they have missed a court appearance or jury duty.
  • The caller uses the name of a real VBPD officer.
  • The call appears to come from a legitimate VBPD phone number.

The caller will make demands for the community member to send payment by means of prepaid gift cards, prepaid debit cards or wire transfers in order to avoid jail time.

Scammers can generate a fake Caller ID (spoofing), which makes it appear that they are calling from a legitimate VBPD phone number in an attempt to gain the trust of whomever they are calling. When a payment is made to a scammer using prepaid gift cards or wire transfers in this fashion, it is very difficult to get that money back, as they typically access the funds right away, according to a press release.

The VBPD says it wants to remind everyone that the Virginia Beach Police Department, or any other legitimate law enforcement agency will not call community members seeking payment for outstanding traffic citations or warrants.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam include:

  • Ask for the callers’ identity and contact us independently. Do not call the number that appears on your caller ID.
  • Do not discuss personal or financial information to unsolicited callers, or by e-mail.
  • Do not wire money or provide bank account numbers or other financial card numbers (credit, debit or any other prepaid cards) to anyone you do not know.
  • Stay private – regularly update privacy settings for social media sites. Scammers will often troll for personal information on Facebook, Twitter and other commonly used sites to make their stories more believable.

If you receive a similar call, disconnect without providing any information or taking any instructions from the caller. If you are a resident of Virginia Beach and have fallen victim to one of these scams you are encouraged to call the Virginia Beach Police non-emergency number (757) 385-5000 to file a report.

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