ON YOUR SIDE: Lebanon, Mo. Police Department warning about scam disguised with their phone number

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LEBANON, Mo. (KY3) - It is an age-old scam that has been around for a while, but now targeting a new group of people.

The Lebanon Police Department said several people have called about a phone scam where someone from a fake law firm calls, appearing to be using the department’s phone number, and then explains that the person has a warrant out for their arrest.

If the person refuses to give their information, they will be arrested. At least so the scam says, but of course this is not actually the case. It is a simple trick that has been around for a while, Stephanie Garland with the Springfield Better Business Bureau said.

“There’s spoofy technology out there, there’s apps on people’s phones where all they got to do is download it and makeup a fake number for it," Garland said. “It is really easy to impersonate different numbers and create different numbers.”

She said the Better Business Bureau is quite familiar with these types of scams. In fact, there are some of the most common.

”This happens often where people will get calls out of the blue saying there is a warrant out for their arrest," she said. “There are a lot of different organizations scammers impersonate. And some of the top ones right now are the U.S. Marshall’s office and the secret service."

She also said there has been a similar type of scam around in the Ozarks lately.

“Pay this money right now otherwise we are coming to get you, that is the most common there is right now,” Garland said. "There is a car down in El Paso. It has blood in it and there are drugs in it. And the car was rented out in your name, using a credit card that was in your name. "

She said the scammer will then tell the person that they are with a law enforcement agency like the U.S. Marshall’s Office and will help them out if they pay a certain amount of money. Otherwise the scammers say they will come to get the person.

Garland said spam blocking apps and no call lists help, but the best solution is to not answer unknown numbers.

She said one woman she spoke with had a call like this and did not give away her social security number, but did accidentally give out other information.

“She answered all kinds of personal questions," Garland said. "So here she is trying to keep them on the phone away from somebody else but she literally gave them all the answers to all her bank passwords.”

That woman ended up having to report the scam and work with her bank to solve the problem.

You can prevent scams like these by downloading a scam app on your phone such as Nomorombo, RoboKiller, Hiya and plenty of others. Garland also recommends you sign up for both state and federal no call lists.

If you do receive a scam call, report it to the Better Business Bureau and the state attorney general.

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