DC police reissue warning about impersonator scam

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The Metropolitan Police Department says due to a a "recently reported incident" they want to warn the public again about a police impersonator phone scam.

Several people from out-of-state reported that law enforcement personnel have called them from a 202 area code asking for money for outstanding bills, tickets or loans. Police say in some cases the caller claimed he or she is a detective with the Financial Crime Unit of The Metropolitan Police Department or is an IRS Agent. The caller threatens arrest or prosecution if the person does not comply with demands. The caller asks for money to be wired via Western Union, MoneyGram, or Greendot "MoneyPaks." In some cases, they caller uses actual names of government or law enforcement personnel.

According to police, more scammers are using "Magic Jack" or VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) so they can make phone calls through a computer network. It allows them to make calls that appear to be local but are not, say police, because they scammer can obtain any area code even if he or she is physically located overseas. Police say because the money is almost always transferred overseas, law enforcement officials are unable to investigate the crime and the wire service is unable to reimburse the funds.

Police want you to know that law enforcement agencies will not try to collect fines or outstanding debt from citizens. The IRS also does not initiate contact with taxpayers via phone calls or email. "Anytime that someone you don't personally know asks for any type of wire transfer, there is a 99% chance IT IS A SCAM," wrote police in a press release.

If you believe that you've been targeted by this type of scam, please call the Financial Crime and Fraud Unit at 202-727-4159 or mpd.fraud-unit@dc.gov. You may also submit anonymous information via the department's TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.


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