Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers.  While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the IRS, the Social Security Administration or your local police department  The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards.   Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.

Recently the Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina Police Department posted the following notice on its Facebook page about a local impostor scam.

“Kill Devil Hills Police Department
We’ve received several calls in the last two days about a phone scam targeting local area residents. The Kill Devil Hills Police Department phone number is being spoofed (ends in 5337) and actual officer’s names are being used by the scammers. They are telling people they have a warrant for skipping court and have to pay a fine over the phone.

Please do not fall for these scams: they originate overseas and it is almost impossible to recover money that is lost to the scammers. The Kill Devil Hills Police Department will never call you and demand money.”

TIPS

As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not.  Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Never provide personal information to anyone who calls you unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is legitimate.  In the case of this kind of impostor scam, no police department will call you and demand a payment over the phone.

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