WEST SENECA, N.Y. — The West Seneca Police Department has a funny way to stop fraud, which includes stolen chicken feet, Outback Steakhouse, and a Snickers bar. The police department posted a series of text messages on its Facebook Page between police and someone trying to scam them out of money.
“Hello, this is Shane Wilson of the local police department of New York State,” the scammer messaged the department. The scammer goes on to say, with a few spelling mistakes and bizarre syntax, “I am writing to you regarding the outstanding legal complaint against you, and your social security is currently under ‘inve’ for the theft of $5000 in funds.” The message ends with a threat to freeze “your bank accounts and activate the arrest warrant against you…Thank you. Official Cybercrimes Investigation Unit of NY.”
‘stolen chicken feet’
West Seneca police responded, “Shane, this sounds really bad. I thought I cleared that whole warrant thing up with the stolen chicken feet. How can I make this right?”
The scammer responded by asking for a social security number. They then messaged the police, “The easiest way to clear this up is to go to Rite Aid and purchase $1000 in iTunes gift cards. This down payment will place a hold on the investigation until the balance is paid.“
The police department is using the exchange to remind people that “no police department will ever text them about a warrant for their arrest, and no government agencies will ever accept gift cards as a form of payment.”
Police spotted the scam immediately but ,continued to play with the scammer, “I wouldn’t want to mess around anymore with the West Seneca Police Department. They always catch their criminals.” The scammer, however, continued to push for payment.
‘Judges love steaks, am I right LOL’
The police jokingly offered to go to several stores, Dollar General and Rite Aide, to buy the iTunes gift cards. “I’m waiting to check out,” the police messaged.
“They didn’t have iTunes cards, though, so I grabbed Outback. Judges love steaks, am I right LOL? They didn’t offer me the discounted Snickers bar like the sign says they have to ask. I’m going to get that for free now.”
Unaware the police were playing with them, the scammer responded, “They must be iTunes. We cannot accept Outback.” The last message from ‘Shane,’ the scammer, warns, “The funds must be here by the end of today, or the magistrate will have warrant for you in hand.”
West Seneca Police say scammers can be really tricky and want folks to share the text exchange as a warning to everyone to beware of potential fraud. In this case, they caught it in time and ended the exchange with proof they have a sense of humor. “Guess I still have a warrant for the chicken feet thing, though.”