SAN ANGELO, Texas- Scammers are targeting the San Angelo area using a tactic called spoofing in order to acquire large amounts of money in the name of the San Angelo Police Department.
The San Angelo Police Department says the scammers are using a combination of phone numbers disguised as dispatch and scare tactics to entice victims to pay large amounts of money for fake warrants or bail for loved ones.
The practice is known as spoofing which overrides the phone number that appears on caller id. This makes it appear as if the call is coming from a different source, such as SAPD in this case.
“We received calls regarding scammers spoofing the department dispatch’s phone number and these were individuals attempting to take money from elderly individuals,” Officer Richard Espinoza of the San Angelo Police Department said. “The police department nor any other government agency will request any kind of money, gift cards, or any other kind of form of payment via phone.”
Tom Green County Library hosts a variety of classes for the elderly community on how to protect yourself from spoof calls. Leah Barbee, the Information Department Manager at the Tom Green County Library, shares some of those tips talked about in the classes.
“You can screen your calls by letting them go to voicemail. Absolutely legitimate people such as your doctor or your bank are going to leave you a voicemail and then you can pursue from there,” said Barbee.
According to the police, at least one elderly woman almost fell victim to the scam but contacted the department before sending her money preventing her from falling victim.
Officer Espinoza adds scammers are constantly changing their methods and the way they work.
Staying vigilant and on top of your calls is the best way to prevent yourself from being scammed.