Duluth police are warning residents of a scam involving the police department’s own phone number, which has resulted in at least one woman being swindled out of $1,000.
According to Duluth Police Department spokesman Officer Ted Sadowski, the victim told police she received a call from a man, whose called ID came up as “Duluth Police Department.” The phone number was listed as (770) 476-4151, which is the correct number for the department.
“The victim stated the male ... stated she needed to pay in Walmart gift cards to settle an issue with her poor credit,” Sadowski said. “The victim, thinking it was real, purchased two $500 Walmart gift cards and gave the gift card numbers over the phone.”
The call was not real, Sadowski said, as neither police nor agencies such as the IRS contact people via the phone to settle criminal or debat matters.
“In scams like this, the perpetrator ‘spoofs’ any number — in this case the Duluth Police Department — and acts like a representative from this agency, trying to obtain money,” Sadowski said. “These types of payments over the phone become difficult to investigate, since most of the time the perpetrator is outside the United States.”
Sadowski said anyone who does receive a call from anyone claiming to represent the Duluth Police Department or any other law enforcement agency, they’re “urged not to provide the information and to contact (their) local law enforcement to report the incident.”
For more information about how scammers successfully “spoof” numbers, visit fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id.