Your church isn’t calling to arrest you

Your church isn't calling to arrest you

By Greg Collier

One of the more common scams is the police impersonation scam. As you can probably guess, this is when scammers spoof the police’s phone number and try to convince you that there’s a warrant out for your arrest. The scammers will then pressure you into making a payment over the phone that they claim will make the warrant go away. Usually, they’ll ask for payment in nontraditional and untraceable means, like gift cards or cryptocurrency. It seems that people aren’t exactly picking up phone calls that purport to be from their local police department as much as they used to. Recently, scammers have changed one of their tactics to get their victims to answer the phone.

In the Springfield area of Missouri, scammers have taken to spoofing the number of a local church to try to get their targets to answer the phone. Churches are no stranger to being used as part of a scam. Often, scammers will send out emails posing as a priest or pastor asking their congregation to buy them gift cards. However, in this instance, the scammers are still posing as police to threaten victims with arrest. While police are allowed to use a certain level of deception when conducting an investigation, It would be a huge PR nightmare for them if they posed as a church to make threatening phone calls.

The arrest warrant scam at its heart preys on people’s lack of knowledge on how arrests actually work. No law enforcement agency is ever going to call you on the phone if you have a warrant out for your arrest. You might receive a notification in the mail, but more than likely you’ll be visited by the police in person. So, even if your church seems to be calling you, you can’t be arrested over the phone.

We wonder how long it will be before scammers are able to spoof the numbers of your immediate family members. Once they can do that, almost no phone call will be able to be trusted.