The police departments for the Town of Vienna and City of Falls Church want people to be careful about phone scammers — especially ones pretending to be local police.
Falls Church officials put out a press release in late November warning locals of “a recent phone scam trend that spoofs, or fraudulently displays, actual Falls Church Police Department phone numbers on caller ID.”
“To further convince the recipient that the caller is a representative of the Falls Church Police Department, the scammer impersonates an actual Falls Church Police Department official and advises the victim to look up the phone number where the call is originating from,” the press release said. “The scammer then uses intimidation tactics, such as the threat of arrest, to demand payment of money purportedly owed to the government.”
Vienna police have also been dealing with the same issue.
“It is very strange,” Juan Vazquez, a spokesperson for the Vienna Police Department, told Tysons Reporter.
Since people are becoming more aware of the IRS phone spoofs, Vazquez said that scammers have realized that those calls aren’t as effective. The fraudulent police calls “are another variation of the same thing,” he said.
Vazquez said he doesn’t know how scammers get the police department numbers to display as the caller ID.
Fishy Phone Calls
A review of the weekly crime highlights from the two police departments found several reported cases of residents receiving calls from people saying they were with the local police department.
In late November, Falls Church police received a report of “unknown suspect(s) purporting to be a retired Falls Church police officer called community members and falsely stated that they had outstanding warrants and demanded money.”
A man came to the Vienna Police Station in September “advising he was on the phone with someone claiming to be a Vienna Police Officer and they were attempting to defraud him of money,” according to a crime report.
“An officer attempted to speak to the caller; however, the caller hung up when the officer identified himself,” the report said. “The phone number the call initiated from was the Vienna Police non-emergency number.”
How to Stay Safe From Scammers
Vazquez advised that if people get a suspicious call claiming to be from the police department, Social Security Administration, IRS or other entity that they ask for the caller’s name, then hang up and call the organization the caller says they’re from to ask to speak to the caller. That way, the person can verify whether or not the person works there.
Falls Church police advise a similar strategy, urging people to call the Falls Church police’s non-emergency number 703-241-5050 (TTY 711) to confirm if the caller is a legitimate official.
“Indicators of scam calls are threats, orders to not hang up and other statements about immediacy,” Falls Church police say. “Never give out personal information — such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, or passwords — in response to unexpected calls if you are at all suspicious.”
Both police departments have said they do not make calls in an attempt to collect money.
“The City of Falls Church Police Department will never call and request payment for fines, traffic tickets, or bail over the phone,” the Falls Church press release said. “All these transactions are conducted by the respective court systems and never over the phone. Police will also never call an individual to threaten arrest or remove an arrest warrant.”
More from Falls Church police:
Caller ID spoofing is a scam that deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise the scammer’s identity as well as appearing as an official organization or entity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally.
Scammers will oftentimes know the victim’s full name and their extensive background, such as birth date and names of family members.
You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed.
People who receive suspicious calls can file a report about attempted fraud with the Fairfax County Police Department and visit the Federal Communications Commission’s “Caller ID Spoofing” webpage for information on spoofing scams.
Photo via Facebook
As the Nationals compete in the World Series, Fairfax County police want people to be careful about where they get their tickets for the games.
“Detectives are investigating an increasing number of online and phone scams involving the sale of World Series tickets,” according to a press release.
The police department has tips for people to avoid scams, including being cautious when buying tickets from sources other than Major League Baseball or authorized dealers.
“Be sure to research the vendor and review their security protocols before providing personal information or payment,” FCPD noted.
Anyone who wants to report a scam can file a report online with the Financial Crimes Section or call 703-691-2131.
Additional tips are available on the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs’ Shopping Online resource page.
The Nats have a game against the Astros tomorrow (Friday).
The Vienna Police Department wants people to beware fraudulent calls from people pretending to be Vienna police officers.
A man reported one such scam call last Friday, Sept. 13, around 1 p.m.
“A man who resides in Fairfax County came to the Vienna Police Station advising he was on the phone with someone claiming to be a Vienna police officer and they were attempting to defraud him of money,” according to a police report.
When a police officer tried to speak to the caller, but “the caller hung up when the officer identified himself,” police said. The phone number that the call came from was the Vienna Police Department’s non-emergency number.
Police told the man that the call was a scam and advised him to report it to the Fairfax County Police Department for the attempted fraud, according to the report.
“Spoofing telephone numbers is a common scam that is used in an attempt to defraud citizens out of money. Our department does not make calls in an attempt to collect money,” the police department said.
If anyone lost jewelry at Caboose Tavern (124 Church Street NE), Vienna police may know of its whereabouts.
“A member of the Vienna Optimists Club advised a citizen found a piece of jewelry and turned it over to them at the Caboose” on Saturday, Sept. 14, according to police.
Photo via Facebook
Scam Alert for Businesses from FCPD — “These scams consist of an email being sent to an employee (secretary, assistant, etc.) claiming to be their boss, and asking the employee to do something such as change direct deposit information or buy several gift cards and send the codes back. The scam email comes from an address that looks similar to the boss/executive’s actual email.” [Facebook]
New Tysons Building Offers $639K One Bedroom Condo — “The Monarch luxury condo development in Tysons has put up units for sale. This unit is a one bedroom priced at $639K. The units offer sweeping views, outdoor areas and high-end finishes. Community amenities include a club room, outdoor pool, rooftop social room, pet spa and more.” [Patch]
RV Owner Reprimanded for Dumping in Vienna — “A resident living in the 200 block of McHenry Street, S.E., told Vienna police on Jan. 4 at 5:45 p.m. that a man was dumping waste illegally from a recreational vehicle into the street’s gutter. An officer spoke to the man, who advised he was fixing the plumbing in the kitchen of the vehicle and had dumped the contents from kitchen drain into the gutter, mixing the contents with bleach.” [InsideNova]
Should Teachers Be Armed? — “Virginians are divided on whether they would support legislation to train schoolteachers and administrators to be armed on school grounds, according to a poll conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University. ‘It was almost split right down the middle,’ said Robyn McDougle, director for the Center for Public Policy in VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.” [Connection Newspapers]
Snow May Disrupt Evening Commute — “The main band of snow is likely to come through during the evening and overnight hours. As the onset of snow may coincide with the evening commute, especially in our western areas, build in extra time to get home or consider leaving a little early to beat the rush. Some slick spots could develop, especially on untreated roads.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]