DULUTH, Ga. — Duluth Police said a woman recently fell victim to a phone scam where the department's phone number was spoofed.
Police said the victim got a call from the "Duluth Police Department" with the correct phone number (770-476-4151) stating she needed to pay $1,000 using Walmart gift cards to settle an issue with poor credit.
Anna Reinfeld says the scammer convinced her that her social security number had been compromised. The man on the phone said in order to get a new number she first needed to go to Walmart.
Police said the man over the phone convinced Reinfeld to purchase two $500 Walmart gift cards and give him the card numbers. But before that, when the caller noticed some hesitation in Reinfeld's voice, he reportedly upped the ante - that's when the scammers posed as someone from the Duluth Police Department over the phone.
"That’s where the police got involved on. Yeah, the fake police got involved, and it sounded so real, you know?," Reinfeld told 11Alive.
Police say, in scams like this, the perpetrator "spoofs" any number, in this case the Duluth Police Department, and acts like a representative from this agency, trying to obtain money.
"These types of payments over-the-phone become difficult to investigate, since most of the time the perpetrator is outside the United States," the department said.
They remind residents that the Duluth Police Department does not contact individuals for personal information nor debt collection.
Just last month in neighboring Norcross, the department advised the public about a scam in which callers are “claiming to represent the Norcross Police Department and asking for money” they wrote on Facebook.
If you receive a call from anyone claiming to represent a law enforcement agency in this manner, you are urged not to provide the information and to contact your local law enforcement to report the incident.
For information on this act of "spoofing," visit the FCC consumers guide.