Sheriff’s Office Warns of Fraudsters Impersonating Law Enforcement in Phone Scam
The Sheriff's Office wants to alert area residents to ongoing phone scams in which suspects pose as members of law enforcement to coerce victims into giving them money. This type of scam has occurred throughout the region, including Alexandria, and across the country.
Scams have variations but generally the caller will identify themself as a law enforcement officer and tell the victim, falsely, that a warrant has been issued because they missed a court date, did not show up for jury duty, have an overdue fine or something similar, and they will be arrested unless they pay right away.
Callers often use the names of actual deputies or police officers, and they may disguise their phone number to make it look like they are calling from a local law enforcement agency. This practice of disguising the caller ID is known as “spoofing.” Federal authorities have already reported that scammers will attempt to email a victim fake law enforcement credentials to gain their trust.
Callers intimidate victims by demanding payment and threatening them with arrest if they do not cooperate. They may demand that fines or fees by paid with money, credit cards, gift cards, payment apps, or even cryptocurrency. But no legitimate law enforcement agency in Virginia or in the region will ever call someone and demand money.
“The best way for someone to protect themselves from these scams is simply to hang up,” says Sheriff Sean Casey. “Don’t let your guard down and don’t be intimidated into providing personal details or financial information. Real deputies are not going to call you and threaten you with arrest, so just hang up if you get a call like that.”
Anyone who has been the victim of a scam should notify their financial institution and report it to their local police department. The Alexandria Police Department can be reached at 703.746.4444.