‘Spoofing’ phone scam uses Cedar City Police Department phone number

Composite image | Cell phone photo by Albina Lavrentyeva, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE Cedar City Police issued a warning Friday that the police department’s number is being used by fraudsters calling residents impersonating a family member to demand bail money or other help, a scam designed to separate residents from their money.

The Cedar City Police Department’s primary phone number has been “spoofed,” Lt. Jimmy Roden told St. George News Friday morning.

Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information sent to the would-be victim’s caller I.D. in an attempt to trick them into giving the fraudster either money or personal information.

“We started receiving calls yesterday reporting that someone is calling these people claiming they calling from here, and when they call the number back it comes back to the police department.”

In the scam the caller pretending to be a family member tells the would-be victim they are in jail and need bail money to be released, or a similar scenario where a relative is claiming they need help or financial assistance.

However, the “send me money” request is a universal element in the scam, Roden said.

He added that similar scams are taking place in other police departments all over the country, and this is not a new scam, but one that has made a return.

“These types of scams have been going on for years, and it’s back.”

The Cedar City Police Department, or any police agency for that matter, does not call demanding payment of fines or bail.

“Don’t become a victim,” Roden said. “We would never contact you and ask for money to be sent or delivered, to help or aid your family member who is in custody.”

Fines are collected by the courts, and warrants are served by law enforcement and never issued over the phone.

Anyone receiving a similar call should just hang up and call the family member directly if in doubt, Roden said, but do not send any cash, Western Union transfers or gift/cash cards.

In the United States, caller ID spoofing is generally illegal if it’s done “with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value,” according to the relevant federal statute, the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, which does make exceptions for certain law-enforcement purposes.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • KR567 November 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Dont bother calling me it would be a cold day in he!! before I bailed one of my family members out of jail

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