The Gwinnett County Police Department took to its social media to warn residents about an uptick in scam phone calls, especially ones involving fake officers.

Scam artists target residents by calling them and pretending to be a Gwinnett County Police Officer. The scammer tells the victim that they need to make an immediate payment to them to avoid jail or another serious offense.

The scam callers will make the interaction seem more believable by disguising their real caller I.D. with computer programs and apps designed to change their caller I.D. to look like the call is coming from the Gwinnett County Police Department. Additionally, the fake officers have been known to give a legitimate officer’s name or provide a phony name and badge number to make them seem more authentic.

The scammers will often ask for payment by methods that are difficult for law enforcement to track such as cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin), gift cards, prepaid debit cards (like Green Dot) and wire transfers.

The Gwinnett County Police Department says that they will never call people and demand payment to be made over the phone for any reason.

Variations of this type of scam that have been reported include:

  • A utility or service will be immediately terminated if payment isn’t received.
  • A relative who has been arrested needs money for bail or to remove a charge.
  • Immediate payment is needed for an outstanding warrant/ticket, or the victim will be arrested.
  • Missed jury duty resulting in possible criminal charges.
  • A pre-approved loan is available, or a lottery has been won, if the victim will send a small start-up fee.
  • An immigration authority is claiming a person will be deported if payment isn’t received.
  • A mortgage company threatening to foreclose on a home due to late payments and demands immediate payment.

The Gwinnett County Police Department offers the following fraud prevention tips:

• Be suspicious of anyone calling and demanding immediate payment, especially by:

  • prepaid debit card (such as Green Dot)
  • gift cards
  • cryptocurrency (such as bitcoin)
  • wire transfer
  • cash via FedEx or other courier
  • Ask for the caller’s identity and independently contact the agency. Do not call the number that appears on your caller I.D.
  • Do not disclose personal or financial information to unsolicited callers or by email.
  • Do not wire money or provide bank account numbers or financial transaction card numbers (credit, debit, Green Dot, or any other prepaid card) to anyone you don’t know.
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