Gresham PD warns of scammers asking for money using government p - KPTV - FOX 12

Gresham PD warns of scammers asking for money using government phone numbers

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GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

A widely-known phone scam involving asking victims to pay money over the phone to authorities has a new, deceptive twist according to Gresham police.

The department is warning the public of scammers calling people trying to persuade them to send in “payments” to avoid arrest or bail a loved one out of jail. The new twist is that the calls asking for the money are coming from phone numbers matching the Multnomah County police non-emergency line and other official government lines.

Investigators said victim were called over the weekend by people claiming to be FBI agents, police officers or members of a foreign consulate demanding money.

Officers were called to one case Sunday where a non-native English speaker was taken for nearly $1,000 after the person on the other end of the call said the man was facing arrest for a crime he was not connected with in any way.

The victim challenged the caller, who in turn said the victim should check the number of the call, which matched the police non-emergency number. The victim then wired money and was only stopped from sending another wire after calling police directly.

"This is something Oregon law enforcement agencies won't do," Gresham Police Captain Claudio Grandjean said in a release. "Even if someone has unpaid fines, police won't require a money wire to avoid arrest. And we will never ask for any money to be sent to a specific person or someone out of country."

Grandjean noted that the scam calls are similar to ones seen in the past, and offered a few suggestions on how residents should respond to these scams, including:

  • Call the police
  • Call a trusted friend
  • Call the family of the loved one you're concerned about
  • Don't send any money or give them information

Grandjean also suggested that people just take a moment to calm down and think through the situation. He also added that people should realize that time is on their side, even when the scammer lies to make potential victims think otherwise.

"People can always come to the police department and meet with an officer in person," Grandjean added. "That way they'll be the one initiating the contact and can rest assured that we're there to help them."

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