A warning has been issued to citizens of New York by the state’s Police department NYPD stating that people should be vigilant of frauds been perpetuated over phone calls. The scammers reportedly call the victims and claim to be government officials from the Social Security Administration or other law enforcement agencies. They then threaten the victim and ask for payments which will be paid in prepaid gift cards, prepaid gift cards, and bitcoin.
More Than $2 Million Has Been Stolen This Year Alone, NYPD Warns
This year alone, the fraudsters have been able to steal more than $2 million by scamming over 200 people using these antics. While last year, the NYPD only got three complaints of such while staying bitcoin specifically.
While speaking to the victims over the phone, these impersonators usually tell them that their Social Security number is involved in unlawful activities such as money laundering or drug trafficking and then tell them to send money in bitcoin to a certain address in order to protect their money or to avoid being arrested.
By using a technology known as “spoofing”, the fraudsters are able to tamper with the victim’s phone caller ID so that it will display the phone numbers of the Social Security Administration and other official agencies. At times, they even use the names of real officers.
Nilda Hofmann, NYPD chief of community affairs said that:
“Sophisticated phone scams use the trust victims have in their own government and law enforcement agencies against them. Victims of this type of phone scam are not limited to senior citizens—these criminals are targeting every stratum of society and every demographic is vulnerable.”
The department has now made it known that it will never call individuals to ask for money or information over the phone.
Similarly, just last month, the Berkeley Police Department sent out a warning saying that fraudsters hid their own mobile numbers on user’s caller IDs while asking for payments.