The Evansville Police Department is warning residents of an old-school phone scam making its way around the city, but this time it comes with a new twist.

Evansville Police Warn Residents of New Phone Number Spoofing Scam

The Department issued a statement on Facebook Tuesday saying it had received reports from residents saying they had received a call from (812) 436-7896, which is an actual phone number connected to the Department's Administration. When they called the number back, the voice on the other end was a male who spoke "broken English" that claimed to be with the Department and told the potential victims they either had been selected for jury duty, owed money, or had a warrant out for their arrest. While the EPD statement didn't go into additional specifics, the goal of the scam is to get the person on the other end to pay money to make whatever the fake problem is go away.

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This type of phone scam is not new and has been going on for years, particularly the "warrant" version. In those cases, the scammer calls the potential victims, claims to be a member of law enforcement then plays on the natural fears of the target by claiming they have an outstanding warrant and if they don't pay a fine right then and there, officers will be busting down their door to haul them off to jail. What is relatively new in this instance with the EPD is the scammer is using a method called "Caller ID Spoofing" as a new layer in trying to come off as legit.

Caller ID Spoofing Explained

Oleksii Spesyvtsev
Oleksii Spesyvtsev

Caller ID Spoofing has only been around for the past year or two and is a new trick scammers have been using to try and take your hard-earned money. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), "Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity." Some scammers have used the technology in a variety of scams including fake kidnapping scams where it appears you get a call from someone in your contacts list, but when you answer, instead of the person your expecting, a stranger is on the other end claiming they have kidnapped that person and the only way you'll see them again is if you pay whatever amount of money they ask for.

Of course, anytime you receive a phone call from someone claiming there's some type of issue and asking for money to make the "issue" go away, never, never, never give them any personal or financial information over the phone. If you're unsure whether or not the call you received is legitimate, your best option is to hang up, look up the actual number for the agency or business the scammer claimed to be with, and ask whoever answers if the call was real. 99.9% of the time, the answer will be no.

[Source: Evansville Police Department on Facebook]

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