Waco: ‘Spoofing’ scam uses police department number

(File)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Waco police are warning residents of a new phone scam in which calls appear to be coming from the Waco Police Department.

The scam has cost one local woman $1,500, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Thursday.

“They often target the elderly because they are the most vulnerable and likely to believe it,” Swanton said.

The scammers, “spoofing” the Waco Police Department’s phone number, are calling residents using the name of a retired officer and telling them they face arrest for failing to respond to jury summonses unless they pay up.

“We tell people all the time, don't fall for these phone calls, we're not going to make you send us money from a post office box, we are not going to make you go to a Walgreens to get an additional gift card, it’s not going to happen, but people continue to fall for these scams and are victims of a big monetary loss,” Swanton said.

“Caller IDs are not accurate there is software available, apps people can use to spoof phone numbers to make it anything they want to and that’s what they are able to do. Unfortunately for us on the investigative side it’s hard to track those transactions,” Swanton said.

The best ways to avoid becoming a victim of such scams, Swanton says, are to be skeptical when callers ask for money and to avoid posting person information on social media sites.