KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – The Knoxville Police Department is warning the public of a scam it has been made aware of which uses the identity of law enforcement to try and get money out of victims.
According to KPD, an Oak Ridge resident recently fell victim to the scam after they got a message from a number instructing them to contact a lieutenant with the police department. When the victim reached out, the person on the other end pretended to be a member of the police department, KPD said.
That scammer then accused the victim of soliciting a minor on a popular dating app, Bumble.
“Upon calling that number, the person who answered the phone identified himself as that KPD Lieutenant and as a member of the Special Crimes Unit. The scammer went on to tell the victim that the Special Crimes Unit had received a complaint that the victim had solicited a minor on the Bumble dating app,” the police department said.
“The scammer posing as a KPD officer further advised the victim to speak with the family of the said minor before matters escalated. Shortly after, the victim received a call from an individual claiming to be the father of the minor female. The scammer demanded that the victim pay money or face prosecution,” KPD added.
Due to these recent scams, KPD has some reminders for people:
– The Knoxville Police Department nor any law enforcement agency would handle a criminal complaint in this manner.
– Scammers use many tactics to appear credible, like providing names of actual law enforcement officers or badge numbers. They also use spoofed numbers.
– These scams typically work by posing an imminent threat and then forcing victims to take quick action to make that threat go away.
– Never divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers. Authenticate the call by hanging up and calling the alleged source of the call.
– Report scam calls to your local police department, local FBI field office and the Federal Trade Commission. Those calls can be reported to the KPD at 865-215-7212.
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