The Bonney Lake Police Department has seen a new telephone scam arise over the last several weeks. Residents are urged to be aware of the threat and take measures to protect their personal and financial security.
Victims receive a phone call in which the caller claims to be from the police department and demands payment for an outstanding ticket, fine and/or warrant. Reports indicate the suspect threatens arrest at the victim’s residence or place of employment if they do not comply. A couple victims have fallen prey to the scam and lost money due to the aggressive, authoritative and threatening behavior of the caller.
Officer Daron Wolschleger advises the community that the department will never, under any circumstance, make such phone calls. They are always a scam, he said, and this particular suspect has resorted to manipulating the phone, a technique known as ‘spoofing’, in order for the police department’s phone number to appear on the caller ID.
There was no suspect information at the time of press and it can prove difficult to gain investigative leads in cases like this, Wolschleger said.
“Spoofing the phone makes it appear legitimate. The caller ID shows they’re calling from the police department but they’re not. If you do have a fine, we will not call to request payment,” he said. “Unfortunately, this person could be calling from anywhere, possibly even out of the country, on an untraceable phone. That makes it difficult to find them but we’re trying. Our next best course of action is to educate people.”
Anyone who receives these calls should be aware that it’s a scam. Notify the caller that you recognize it as such and that you’re contacting the police. Do not offer bank or credit card information and do not engage further conversation. Hang up the phone and report the incident to law enforcement immediately.
Anyone with information regarding who may be responsible is asked to contact the police department.