Alexandria police warn of phone scammers posing as officers

Police in Alexandria, Virginia, want you to know that they would never call you to ask for money.

Scammers, they say, are posing as Alexandria officers — calling homes and asking for donations to the department.

Residents started calling the department Monday, police Lt. Courtney Ballantine said. They reported that a caller would ask for a “charitable donation” on behalf of the Police Department.

“We never do that,” Ballantine said.

Alexandria sheriff’s deputies, too, say their department would never call requesting money. Back in May, scammers reportedly posed as deputies over the phone.

Two scenarios were presented. In one case, they were told that to nullify an arrest warrant, they’d need to give their credit card information or bank details for payment. In another example, they were told that they had unpaid fines, and that they’d need to pay by phone using their credit card or bank information.

Scammers frequently use such ruses to get sensitive financial information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers or Social Security numbers.

In June, the Maryland attorney general’s office got reports of callers claiming that the recipient had missed a court date, and that in order to avoid arrest, they would have to wire funds to the caller.

If you’ve been a victim of a similar scam, police say you should contact your local law enforcement. Alexandria police say if you’ve been scammed by someone posing as one of their officers, you should call their non-emergency number, 703-746-4444.

The Maryland attorney general offers tips to avoid such scams. Among them:

  • Hang up immediately.
  • Do not call the number on the caller ID.
  • Do not send your driver’s license number to anyone claiming to be law enforcement.
  • Report the suspicious call to your local attorney general or to the Federal Trade Commission.

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