WEST SPRINGFIELD – Police are warning residents that scammers have spoofed the department’s phone number so it looks like local officers are calling to try to steal Social Security numbers, bank account information or to push the recipients to turn over money to them.
Two recent scams where the caller ID number comes up as the West Springfield Police department have been reported. One involves a person pretending to be from Border Patrol in Texas and the caller claims to have found a vehicle with blood, drugs and the recipient’s bank information inside. They then ask for the person’s Social Security Number and offer them a new one, police said.
Another is following the well-known scam when someone pretends to be from the Social Security Office. In this case, the caller claims there was an incident in Texas and the person’s Social Security number has been suspended. The caller then threatens the victim with arrest if they do not pass on their name, date of birth, Social Security number, bank information and other personal records, police said.
The recipients then receive a follow-up call which looks as if it is coming from the West Springfield police business line on caller ID. The caller accuses the victim of being involved with money laundering and drug trafficking and threaten victims with arrest if they don’t transfer money via “Byte Federal” which is a bitcoin cryptocurrency ATM system, police said.
Police remind people never to give any personal information to anyone over the phone. Neither law enforcement nor the Social Security Agency will ever ask for personal information and will never demand any type of payment over the phone especially through gift cards or a system such as Byte Federal, police said.
Anyone who receives a call where someone demands any personal information or money, even if caller identification says it is a police number, should hang up. If they are concerned the call is legitimate, they can call police themselves to make sure the number is not being spoofed, police said.