SAN ANGELO, Texas — The San Angelo Police Department says scammers with phone numbers disguised to look like San Angelo Police Department dispatch have reportedly called residents in the city and asked them for money.
The practice, known as “spoofing”, overrides the phone number which appears on caller-id in order to make it look like the phone call is coming from another source. In a Facebook post published on Thursday night, September 2, 2021, the SAPD said they had received reports of scammers calling elderly individuals, “demanding money from them.”
According to police, at least one elderly woman had nearly fallen victim to the scammers, but called the police department before sending money.
Police say that was the phone call that prevented her from falling victim to the trick and losing money.
“Fortunately she reached out to the Police department and we were able to prevent her from falling victim to the scam,” said Richard Espinoza, San Angelo Police Department’s Public Information Officer. “We were able to confirm that the scammer was spoofing the Non-emergency dispatches phone number in an attempt to make the call seem legit.”
Espinoza suggested these tips to anyone who might be a potential victim of a scam:
- Confirm the validity of the phone call by hanging up and contacting your local police department.
- Request to speak to an officer (face to face) to confirm if we attempted to contact you.
- Know that the San Angelo Police Department (or any other government agency) will NOT contact you requesting payment via gift cards, money orders/transfers, or any other form of payment for warrants, bail, or towing fees on vehicles. (Some of the common scare tactics these scammers are using to request money.)
- Continuously share this information with friends, relatives, loved ones etc.
“Scammers are continuously changing their methods to scam innocent victims out of their money,” says Espinoza, “so be vigilant and contact the Police department directly if there is any concern.”