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Shelby Township police warn of scammers impersonating officers, spoofing calls to appear legit

Posted at 5:23 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 18:27:58-04

SHELBY TOWNSHIP (WXYZ) — Shelby Township police have been getting reports that scammers are calling citizens and pretending to be police officers, claiming they need them to hand money over fast.

The scammers have threatened people with arrest and claimed a loved one is going to jail if they don't give them money.

The con artists have even used the name of an actual police officer and spoofed the calls so that the caller ID suggests it's coming from the police department. And how these scammers are asking for the money should be a red flag, said Shelby Township Police Lt. Pat Barnard.

It's unclear where the scam artists are operating from but they are demanding people go to stores that sell gift cards and scratch off the back to reveal the code, which is all they need to retrieve the money on their end.

"They believe that they are going to be arrested or that they've done something wrong so they're compliant," said Lt. Barnard about similar crimes in the past.

Thankfully, this time around, police said they have only received calls that these scammers are at it again, but no reports that anyone has actually lost money.

"The important thing to make sure everybody understands is that no police department does business like that," Lt. Barnard said. "No police department is going to contact you and send you out to get gift cards and share the back code on those. And not just police departments. No businesses do that. The Secretary of State doesn't do that. The FBI doesn't do that. No one does that."

"If someone is asking you to go out and buy a gift card, that is a scam," said Lt. Barnard, who advises people to hang up the phone and not reveal any personal information.