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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 30, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , police impersonation scam, ,   

    Celebrity romance scam had deadly consequences 

    By Greg Collier

    A pair of alleged romance scammers from New Jersey have been arrested after investigators discovered their involvement in scamming an elderly Tennessee man. The pair convinced the man that he was having an online relationship with a well-known female celebrity. Then the scammers convinced the man that they were with the FBI, and the celebrity was suing the man for harassment. That’s when the scammers started demanding money from their victim.

    The man was told he would need to pay fines to resolve the lawsuit. He sent the scammers a $5500 check. However, the check was made out to the FBI, meaning the scammers couldn’t cash the check. Apparently, the scammers were incensed by this because they told the man he would now have to pay $40,000 for failing to follow instructions. Before it was all over, the man paid close to $90,000 to the scammers, with him even taking out a loan on his car.

    It’s unknown if the man realized he was being scammed as he took his own life last month. After his passing, the man’s family found emails related to the scam and contacted police.

    We hope that our readers’ first thoughts when seeing this story aren’t “I would have never fallen for this scam.” If they were, we’d like to remind you that a man has been lost from his family due to the actions of greedy and reckless scammers. While you may not have fallen victim to this scam, there’s probably someone in your family who would. Now, imagine the heartbreak of losing them to a pointless scam like this.

    While most romance scams don’t veer off into police impersonation territory, always be wary of online relationships where your supposed partner can’t meet you in person. Also, please keep in mind that no law enforcement agency will ever ask you to make payments over the phone or through email.

    If you know someone who you suspect may be the target of a romance scam, please try to talk to them about such scams before they become victims.

    (If you or someone you know is contemplating the unthinkable, please know that there is no shame in reaching out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is accessible 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255, and you can also visit their website for support. You can also reach the lifeline by dialing 988. This new three-digit number is designed to provide easier access to mental health support services.)

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 15, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , police impersonation scam,   

    Jury duty scammers find the perfect victim 

    By Greg Collier

    The jury duty scam is a fraudulent scheme where scammers impersonate officials from the legal system, typically claiming to represent a court or law enforcement agency. The scam often begins with a phone call or email informing the targeted individual that they have failed to appear for jury duty and now face legal consequences such as fines or even arrest warrants. To resolve the supposed issue, the scammer then requests sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers, financial details, or even payment for the fabricated penalties. These scams play on the fear of legal repercussions, catching victims off guard and coercing them into providing sensitive information or money to avoid fictitious consequences. If you go by the number of times this scam finds its way into headlines, it may be the most prolific scam going today.

    Recently, in the Atlanta Metro Area, scammers found a victim who had recently gone through an experience which made her the perfect victim for the jury duty scam. The scammers posed as her local police and told her she had missed jury duty. In this instance, they used the name of an actual police officer from that department. They told her a warrant was about to be issued for her arrest, but she could avoid that if she just paid a $3000 fine in Bitcoin. The victim deposited the money into a Bitcoin ATM that was in a local gas station. What made the victim more vulnerable to this scam than most was the fact she had just been excused from jury duty last month, so she thought the phony charge was somehow related to that. It was more than likely a coincidence that scammers found such a victim, as scammers typically cast the widest net possible in order to find as many victims as possible.

    If you receive any communication regarding jury duty, it is essential to independently verify its legitimacy. Contact your local courthouse or law enforcement agency directly using official contact information to confirm the authenticity of the message. Keep in mind that legitimate government entities do not employ aggressive tactics, issue threats, or demand immediate payments over the phone or through email. Should you suspect that you have become a target of a scam, promptly report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and the relevant authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 25, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fake clergy, police impersonation scam, , scam reporting, , , , USA.gov   

    Scam Round Up: Where to report a scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: Where to report a scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    Scammers in Modesto, California, are preying upon Spanish-speaking residents by posing as clergy from the local Catholic diocese. These scammers are allegedly charging families up to $2000 for baptisms, confirmations, and first communions.

    Some scam victims may be afraid to come forward due to their immigration status. However, police have urged residents to come forward by reassuring them they won’t be asked their current status.


    Police in Evanston, Illinois are warning residents there about a police impersonation scam happening in their area. According to the Evanston PD, scammers are calling residents and telling them they owe money for traffic tickets.

    As with all police impersonation scams, real police will never call you and ask for money over the phone, nor will they threaten you with arrest for not paying.

    If you receive a call like this, hang up, and call your local police department at their non-emergency number.


    An elderly woman from Western New York received a letter that appeared to come from Publisher’s Clearing House, telling her she won $2.6 million. Thankfully, she caught on quickly that it was a scam. The letter asked her to pay $4000 in insurance to ensure she would receive the $2.6M check.

    This is known as the advance fee scam, and PCH has always been imitated in these scams. Keep in mind, it doesn’t cost anything to enter sweepstakes like this. That’s why they always say no purchase necessary.


    Lastly, the Federal Government has set up a new website that will help consumers report scams. Anyone can go to USA.gov and answer a quick series of questions. The tool will advise the user where to report a particular type of scam.

    For example, we answered that we were inquiring about identity theft regarding our tax return, and it directed us to the proper department of both the IRS and FBI to report the scam.

    Related Video: Kenmore woman doesn’t fall for $2.6 million scam prize letter posing as Publishers Clearing House

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 18, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , police impersonation scam, ,   

    Strange new police impersonation scam emerges 

    Strange new police impersonation scam emerges

    By Greg Collier

    As we often state, the police impersonation scam that is the most common has to be the jury duty scam. Again, this is when scammers pose as the victim’s local police, even going as far as to spoof the police department’s phone number. The victim is told they missed jury duty and a warrant has been issued for the victim’s arrest. Then the scammers tell the victim they can avoid arrest if they make an immediate payment. This payment is usually made through unconventional means such as gift cards, cryptocurrency, or money transfers. A variation of this scam is when the victim is just told flat out there’s a warrant for their arrest.

    Now, a report out of Wisconsin says there is yet another version of the police impersonation scam. A sheriff’s department has issued a statement saying they’ve received an alarming number of phone calls about this scam. In the latest scam, the scammers are still posing as local police, including spoofed phone numbers, but the scammers’ demand is more than unusual. Residents have said that not only are the scammers demanding a $1000 payment in gift cards, but they’re also telling residents they need to undergo a court-ordered DNA test, or they’ll be arrested.

    We get why the scammers would ask for money in gift cards. That’s just what they do. However, a request for a victim’s DNA is a new one for us. We can’t imagine what the DNA would be used for, but the supposed DNA test may just be a ruse to get the victim to meet the scammer in person.

    Even with this new twist on the police impersonation scam, the ways to protect yourself remain the same. No legitimate law enforcement agency, office, or department will ever call you demanding payment. They won’t threaten you over the phone with arrest if you don’t pay them immediately. If there was a warrant out for your arrest, or a court-ordered DNA test was required, the investigating officers or agents would come to you without a phone call.

    If you receive one of these phone calls asking for money, or in this case your DNA, hang up and call your local police department at their non-emergency number. Not only can they advise you the call is a scam, but they can now inform the community of the scam as well.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 16, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: police impersonation scam, , ,   

    Fake federal agents go to victim’s house to clean money 

    By Greg Collier

    When it comes to today’s scams, most scammers will try to take your funds electronically. Then there are those who want your cash and want it immediately. This has led some scammers to employ ‘couriers’ who will go to a victim’s home to pick up the cash. Sometimes the couriers are unwitting participants, such as rideshare drivers. Other times, they’re either working for the scammer or they’re the scammer themselves. Since scammers tend to target the elderly, it’s disturbing to think of scammers going to the home of an elderly loved one.

    In Western Pennsylvania, an elderly couple were in the process of falling victim to the pop-up scam. They received a message on their computer it had been hacked, and they called the number from the message. The couple was told their bank accounts were compromised, and they needed to withdraw their money from the bank. A federal agent would come by to pick up the money to have it ‘cleaned’, before they would get their money back.

    The federal agent was actually a 22-year-old student from Penn State. When he showed up at the couple’s home, they did not believe he was a federal agent and asked to see some ID. The student was unable to produce any identification, so the couple did not give him any of their money and called police. The student was arrested shortly after the encounter.

    While most victims of these scams are physically unharmed, there is a possibility of danger. Not every scammer or ‘courier’ is going to accept walking away empty-handed.

    For whatever reason scammers may claim, no legitimate law enforcement officer or agent will come to your home to protect your money. If that’s what they’re telling you, they are trying to scam you.

    If you receive a message on your computer telling you it’s been hacked, the odds are it hasn’t been hacked at all. If you can’t close out the message, try doing a hard rest on your device by holding down the power button until it shuts off. If the message continues to appear, run a malware scan on your device.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , police impersonation scam,   

    FBI warns of scam letters sent in their name 

    FBI warns of scam letters sent in their name

    By Greg Collier

    The El Paso, Texas office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has issued an alert about scammers posing as their office. Letters are being sent to El Paso residents that are official looking and appear to be on FBI stationery.

    The letter claims it’s regarding an identity theft case that involves Bank of America. The letter goes on to state the recipient’s bank account with Bank of America has now been secured, but was suspected by US Customs and Border Patrol of being part of an identity theft scheme. The scam letter even contains warnings that it is sensitive material and should not be shared.

    The El Paso FBI Office states the scammers are trying to get victims to pay the scammers in cryptocurrency or other funds, but doesn’t explain how. If you take a look at a copy of the letter the FBI has released, it has the official contact information of the El Paso office on it, albeit signed by a fictitious special agent.

    Typically, when scammers send out letters impersonating an agency or business, false contact information will be included, so the recipient would call the scammer, and not the entity they’re impersonating. It could be that the FBI intentionally left that information off the letter, so people don’t call the scammers. Or, these letters could be followed up by a scammer’s phone campaign where they call the letter’s recipients, furthering their scam.

    Either way, it’s easy to spot that this letter is a fake, as the second time they print Bank of America, the bank’s name is not capitalized. Not to mention, many recipients probably don’t even bank with B of A.

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t say this reminds us of a popular phone scam. In that scam, the scammers will call a victim posing as either, the FBI, US Marshals, or Border Patrol. The scammers will tell their victims that a car rented in the victim’s name has been found along the southern border that contained drugs. The victim is typically threatened with arrest, but they can make the warrant go away if they just pay the fake officer or agent directly.

    Please keep in mind, no law enforcement agency will ever call you up or ask you for money, nor will they send letters. If you owe any kind of legal fine or court cost, that correspondence usually comes from the court and not the police.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 6, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , police impersonation scam, ,   

    Real police don’t give discounts 

    By Greg Collier

    Older generations used to have a fear drilled into them about missing jury duty. For the longest time, there was a type of reverence toward jury duty. No one wanted to do it, but no one wanted to go to jail either. Whether that fear was warranted remains to be seen, but that fear still seems to have a grip on people, and scammers are using it to their advantage.

    Yes, we’re discussing the jury duty scam again. As we’ve said before, it’s probably the most common scam going today. Just in researching for today’s post, we found around a dozen news stories where local police departments and sheriff’s offices were warning residents about the scam. It’s a form of a police impersonation scam. Scammers will pose as local police or the local courthouse while calling their victims to tell them they missed jury duty. Sometimes the scammers will say the victim has a warrant out for their arrest, or if the victim is a professional, they missed a court date where they were supposed to give expert witness testimony.

    The endgame is always the same, though, the victim can supposedly avoid jail time by paying a fine over the phone. Like most scams, this is done by gift cards, payment apps, or cryptocurrency, three forms of payment that neither courts nor police ever accept or ask for. Another thing the police or courts will never do is offer offenders a discount.

    That’s what happened to a Pennsylvania man recently when he got a call telling him he had missed federal jury duty. The call appeared to come from his local sheriff’s office, but any phone number can be spoofed.

    The scammers told the man if he didn’t pay $4900, patrol cars would show up at his home to take him to jail for 60 days. The man tried to withdraw the money from his bank, but the transaction was declined as the bank thought the man was being scammed. At this point, the scammers lowered the phony fine to $1000, which, unfortunately, the victim sent through the Zelle payment app.

    If you’ve ever had a traffic ticket or any kind of court cost, you may have been able to set up a payment arrangement if you don’t have all of the money at the time. But getting the fine talked down to a fifth of its original cost is virtually unheard of.

    If someone were to knowingly miss jury duty, they could be held in contempt of court, however, most jurisdictions do not send those people to jail. There will be a fine, but it’s unlikely it will be anywhere in the neighborhood of $5000. That notice will also be sent in the mail. When someone has an arrest warrant, police do not give them a courtesy call, they just show up unannounced. If you ever get one of these calls, ask the caller for their call back number, but call your local police department instead.

    If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be prepared if police impersonators ever call.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 21, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , police impersonation scam,   

    Scam victim arrested for scamming 

    Scam victim arrested for scamming

    By Greg Collier

    It’s a rare occurrence for a scam victim to be arrested for allegedly being part of a scam, but it does happen. Typically, it happens in the reshipping scam. In those cases, scam victims can be charged with a crime if they willingly falsify shipping documentation as directed by the scammers to bypass US customs. This isn’t a story about that, but it’s just as heartbreaking.

    A 71-year-old man from Des Moines, Iowa, fell victim to a police impersonation scam. It hasn’t been reported which police impersonation scam he fell for, but the scammers did pose as federal agents. It wasn’t enough to take the man’s money, as the scammers used him to pick up money from their victims. The man is said to have collected money from the scammers’ victims, and deposited the money to the scammers at a Bitcoin ATM.

    The regrettable part of this story is that even after being scammed himself, the man thought he was legitimately helping federal investigators. Des Moines police even warned the man what he was doing was illegal, but the man persisted anyway. The police say they had no choice but to arrest him. The man has been charged with money laundering.

    Protecting yourself from police impersonation scams involves being vigilant, informed, and cautious when dealing with any situation involving law enforcement or authority figures. Remember, legitimate law enforcement officers will not threaten you over the phone, demand immediate payments, or use aggressive tactics. Taking the time to verify the authenticity of any communication can go a long way in protecting yourself from scams.

    As one investigator said, “Unless you’ve got a police officer or a legit government official standing in front of you, I wouldn’t trust anybody on that phone.”

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , police impersonation scam, ,   

    How common is the jury duty scam? 

    How common is the jury duty scam?

    By Greg Collier

    We often say the most common scam we see in the news is the jury duty scam. Hardly a day goes by where we don’t see a police department or sheriff’s office warning their local residents about police imposters who are trying to trick victims out of their money.

    The jury duty scam is a type of fraud where scammers attempt to deceive individuals by posing as law enforcement officials or court representatives. They typically target people through phone calls claiming that the recipient has missed jury duty and is now facing legal consequences. The scammers then ask their victims to pay a fictitious fine that supposedly clears the arrest warrant.

    But the scammers don’t want you to go to the courthouse to pay the fine. They want their payment then and there, usually through payment apps like Zelle and Venmo, gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or cryptocurrency.

    Just in the past 24 hours, we’ve seen jury duty scam warnings from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, In Florida, the Annapolis Police Department, in Maryland, the Louisiana State Police, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, in Kansas, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, in Montana, and the Mansfield Division of Police, in Ohio. Tomorrow, it could be another six police departments or more. If the scam hasn’t made it to your city or town, it’s probably on its way.

    If you receive a communication about jury duty, contact your local courthouse or law enforcement agency directly using official contact information to confirm its authenticity. Remember that legitimate government entities will not use aggressive tactics, threats, or demand immediate payments over the phone or email. If you suspect you’ve been targeted by a scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency and relevant authorities.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 28, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , police impersonation scam, , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Weird AI scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: Weird AI scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    Our first scam comes to us from Athens, Texas, where residents have been experiencing a twist in the arrest warrant scam, also known as a police impersonation scam. Typically, when scammers pose as police, they’ll call their intended victims and tell them they have a warrant out for their arrest, The scammers usually claim this for missed jury duty, but they can also claim a number of other infractions.

    For example, residents of Athens have complained the scammers are accusing their victims of using their phone to transmit a photo that traumatized a child. Essentially, the scammers accused their victims of sending explicit material to a child. The victim is then asked to pay several hundred dollars over the phone to resolve the complaint.

    That’s not how arrest warrants work. If there is a warrant for your arrest, especially one that’s supposedly this serious, the police are not going to call you over the phone. Also, no law enforcement agency will ask for money over the phone, and then ask for it in unusual ways, like gift cards or cryptocurrency, just to name a few.

    If you receive a call like this, hang up and call your local police at their emergency number. Not only can you verify there is no warrant for your arrest, you can let the police know scammers are working in your area.


    Police in Connecticut are warning residents there has been an uptick in check washing. Check washing typically involves stealing checks that are in outgoing mail. Thieves often steal the mail from residential mailboxes, along with the outdoor drop-off boxes used by the US Postal Service. They then dip the written checks in a chemical solution that removes the ink from the check, so the thieves can write the checks to themselves.

    The police in Connecticut are also warning residents the thieves can steal checks out of your trash. If you use your bank’s mobile app to deposit checks, and then throw the checks out, make sure they’re properly shredded before throwing them out, as check washing can still be performed on voided checks.

    If you have to write a check, which is going in the mail, use a gel-based ink pen. The ink in gel pens is said to be more resistant to check washing. Also, don’t put the envelope that holds the check in your mailbox and the put the mailbox flag up. This is a signal to thieves there may be a check in there.


    Lastly, we’ve read about another AI voice-spoofing scam. There has been a rash of these scams nationwide over the past year or so. In this scam, the victim gets a phone call where the voice sounds like exactly like one of the victim’s loved ones. The scammers manipulate the loved one’s voice in such a way where it sounds like the actual loved one is in some kind of trouble and needs money to resolve the issue. Typically, the scammers ask for bail money, or in some cases a ransom. However, the loved one is usually unaware their voice is being used in a scam.

    However, the recent news article we read out of Alabama, suggests scammers are using the voice-spoofing technique in identity theft. An Alabama woman received a call she thought was from her brother, but was actually from scammers. Instead of asking for money, they asked the woman for personal information. They then used this information to hijack her Facebook account and use that for additional scams. Police there have said the scammers used the videos the brother posted on social media to mimic his voice with AI.

    We can’t say for sure, but this sounds like the scammers may have been asking for the woman’s security questions in case she lost her Facebook password. Considering the answers to these questions are something like “What was your first pet’s name?” or “What city were you born?” these may seem like innocuous questions coming from a close family member.

    In cases like this, it’s best to ask the family member calling a question only they would know to verify their identity.

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