NAMPA, Idaho — Nampa Police are warning to be on the watch for a recent scam call scheme making rounds.
A scammer claiming to be a Nampa Police officer has been calling people, and saying they have missed court.
Nampa PD isn’t the only department that’s warned of a similar scam. Earlier this year, Caldwell Police warned the public to be aware of a similar scheme targeting residents through misleading phone calls.
“The scam calls are not really uncommon. We’ve seen them for years and years,” Nampa Police Sgt. Clint Wilber said.
Police have seen scam calls ranging from lottery and romance scams, to fake bail bondsmen and police officers.
“Playing off of that anxiety that somebody may have if they think that they missed a court date, or maybe they got a ticket, or maybe they had a fine that they weren’t aware of,” Wilber said.
In many scams, the fake officer on the phone will tell the caller to pay a fine over the phone through a credit card or by going to the store and getting a gift card or Green Dot card. Scam callers often target the elderly.
“Whenever the police do call you, they will not ask you to pay a fine over the phone, they will not ask you to go to a store and buy a payment card,” Wilber said. “They won’t ask you to do any of those things”
Those scammers are after one thing: money.
“These scammers are playing off of our trust,” Wilber said. “You have trust in an authority figure, or trust in a loved one, or trust in a romance scam, something like that – and they’re playing off of your vulnerability. It’s never a bad idea to be skeptical, and at least call and verify before you follow through with the next steps.”
While police may call you for a number of reasons – including for investigations, sharing information, or reaching out on behalf of another agency – calls will never be about transferring cash.
“Really what it comes down to is that if it’s not something that you would expect a professional entity to do – we’re never going to cold call you and ask you to pay anything, pay any fines – that’s not how the system works,” Wilber said. “That’s not how the system works with really any facet of the government, you don’t pay things over the phone like that.”
If you ever question whether or not you’re talking to an actual officer, find out what agency they say they belong to, and then search for and call the dispatch of that agency.
“Find out if that person is actually trying to reach out to you,” Wilber said. “We don’t take offense to that, it happens fairly often.”
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