Residents around the county have been receiving calls that appear to be coming from the Arlington Police Department but are actually scammers.
“The numbers are spoofed to make it seem like it is a call from the Arlington Police Department,” said Kristin Banfield, communications manager for the city of Arlington.
They are also using a name that is similar enough to one of the current police officers with the department that it could fool some people, said Banfield.
During the call, the scammer will inform the victim that they have a warrant out for their arrest.
“The calls are basically saying that they have a warrant out for your arrest, and sometimes they’ll say it’s for not showing up to jury duty or because you have unpaid tickets,” said Banfield.
The victims are often told to wire money or purchase gift cards for Google Play, Visa or other merchants.
This is not the way the department will ever handle warrants, said Banfield. “We handle warrants in person, and we’re definitely not going to call a person to ‘make it go away’ asking for money or for gift cards.”
In fact, no law enforcement agency handles warrants that way.
The Arlington PD may call individuals to ask them to talk about a specific matter, but they will not ask for money or inform you of a warrant over the phone.
“We may call you and ask if we can talk about a matter, ask you to come in so we can discuss something with you, but that’s as far as we will go on the phone,” said Banfield.
If you receive one of these scam calls, Banfield encourages you to report that interaction to the police.
“We encourage people to report it to 911 or the non-emergency number, with as much detail as possible,” said Banfield.
Those reports can be sent to other agencies who may one day be able to place stronger regulations on those type of scam calls.
“We can send that info to the FTC and the FCC so that maybe someday we will be able to bring an end to these type of calls,” said Banfield.