Imagine finding out there’s a fake Facebook profile using your name and pictures, and then learning the fake you is trying to scam people.
That’s what happened to a police officer who is now warning others.
Shelby Township Police Officer Jake Lukas is a school resource officer.
You may remember the 25-year-old from our police carpool karaoke story in May. Lukas said he was shocked to learn someone stole his name and pictures on social media.
The Facebook page looks legitimate with Officer Lukas’ name, police photos and personal photos. It has since been removed.
What’s worse is the profile, who he calls “fake Jake,” has been trying to scam people for money.
“I was enraged,” he explained. “(I) became a police officer to help people and stop them from being victims of crime and here’s someone using my likeness and my name trying to victimize and steal from them.”
There are things an officer would never ask the public for, said Shelby Township Police Deputy Chief Mark Coil.
“We are never going to ask for money," Coil said. "We are not going to cold call you or robocall you to provide us with money or gifts.”
In some messages, “fake Jake” was reaching out to people who were already scam victims, offering help to catch their thief.
Shelby Township police are familiar with scammers pretending to be the IRS, or fake charity groups asking for donations.
A good telltale sign of a scam is if they ask you to wire them money or pay in gift cards.
Recently, investigators have seen a surge in scams using spoofed numbers pretending to be law enforcement officials.
“Cold calls that you have warrants or tickets that you must pay over the phone, our police department will not contact you and tell you that you owe us money or that you have to pay off a bond,” Coil said.
So far, no one has come forward as a victim of “fake Jake.”
Officer Lukas hopes his story will warn others not to fall for scams and be on the lookout for someone pretending to be you online.
“If they do that with a police officer, they have no problems doing it with anyone else,” Lukas added.
Police officials say to trust your gut. If you have questions about a call or message you’re receiving, contact your local police department.