‘Spoofing’ Scam in Missoula Using Police Department Phone Number
Missoula Police are warning the public about phone calls that have been going out recently concerning overdue warrants. According to Missoula Police spokesman Travis Welsh, although the phone number on your Caller ID may say that the call is from the Missoula Police Department… there have been calls recently with some very fishy requests.
"The weekend before last we began getting calls from people who claim they were getting calls from the Police Department with a representative accusing them of having an outstanding warrant and asking them to send money in in the form of gift cards," Welsh said. "There was a person here in town who was extremely frightened by what she had been told and was in the process of purchasing gift cards."
Police were able to prevent the lady from getting scammed, but only after she purchased the gift cards. Welsh says there is software available that allows scammers to do something called “spoofing.”
"Scammers are using a technique called 'spoofing'," Welsh said. "'Spoofing' is when you can disguise your own number on a caller ID with whatever number you want. It is important for people to know that if it sounds unreasonable, it probably is. The Missoula Police Department does not act that way. We may notify people that they have a warrant, but we are not going to demand money over the phone and we are not going to demand that it be made in gift cards."
Welsh advises that if you get one of these calls, to collect as much information about the scammers as possible, while being careful not to give out any personal information. Then, be sure to tell the scammers that you will be verifying everything you heard with a call to local police.