Police warn of scammer pretending to be them

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOLO) - South Lake Tahoe Police are investigating a police-related phone scam.

Police say December 20, 2018, the businessman got a call from what looked like the South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s Main Line. The person on the other end told him he owed money on old credit cards and would be arrested if he didn’t pay. The scammer gave him a number to call, 512-333-2304, and when he called, the scammer asked for $1985. He hung up and called police.

“Neither the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, nor any legitimate law enforcement agency, will call you to collect on credit card bills, or back taxes,” said Lt. Shannon Laney with SLTPD. “Law enforcement agencies also don’t take money in lieu of arrest. If a person has an outstanding arrest warrant, they’ll be arrested, cited, or directed to the court to have the warrant taken care of.”

Similar scams have been reported by law enforcement agencies throughout Northern Nevada and California.

Police say a superficial internet search reveals numbers such as 512-333-23xx are associated with many phone scams. Current technology allows callers to ‘spoof’ the number displayed to the receiver’s caller ID so that it appears to be a call from a legitimate business or government agency.

Police ask you to be leery of callers asking for money through Green Dot cards, credit cards, Money Grams, Venmo, direct deposit or other commodities in lieu of arrest.

To avoid becoming the victim of a scam:

Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls

Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact

Trust your instincts if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, hang up

Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.