FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- "Watch out for spoofing phone calls" is the warning from Fremont Police. They say phone scams are on the rise and criminals are faking the police department's phone numbers on Caller ID.
According to Fremont PD, crooks are somehow making calls that appear to be coming from the police department's non-emergency line. Once connected, the criminals either request information or attempt to solicit money. Fremont Police assure officers will never call from the non-emergency line to do either, and warn that if you get one of these calls, hang up.
They want people to be aware of such scams, fraud, and financial crimes that take aim on vulnerable residents.
The department's crime prevention website explains, if you or someone you know is asked to make a payment and is threatened with arrest, deportation or any type of legal action, it is likely a scam.
To protect yourself, they say be skeptical.
San Jose State professor and tech expert Ahmed Banafa explains these scams constantly evolve.
"We tend to trust - especially when we're talking about senior citizens - they trust those agencies because they're helping them all the time," Banafa shared. "And now comes the bad part, when they start asking questions, start asking for money, they're asking for bank information. And because you're talking to a trusted, what they think is a trust agency, you start releasing this information to them."
Fremont PD says you can protect yourself in a number of ways, including:
- Resist the pressure to act quickly.
- Try to contact the agency, company or family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.
- Do not meet with anyone in person to deliver cash payment.
- Never purchase money cards to pay a debt. Call the agency directly and obtain proof of the debt before making a payment. No official agencies will accept a money card.
- Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail, especially overseas. They say wiring money is similar to giving cash, and once you've sent it, you can't get it back.
The number being mimicked currently is 510-790-6800, which again is the department's non-emergency line.
Banafa shared, "There's always a dark side to anything we're doing on the internet and this is one of them."
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