LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Adrian Police Department detectives are warning of “spoofing” scammers after an elderly woman received a strange sequence of calls late last week.
Detectives received a call from the woman on Friday, Oct. 6, saying she needed help. They learned the woman had fallen victim to an alleged scammer who was pretending to work for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
He had tricked the woman into withdrawing $18,000 in cash from her bank account, and was still on the phone and threatening to arrest her if she wouldn’t send him the money.
Adrian detectives spoke to the alleged scammer, and he hung up on them, according to a statement from the police department.
After the alleged scammer hung up on the detectives, he called the elderly woman’s phone again using spoofing software to make his number appear on her Caller ID as the Adrian Police Department.
A detective said they answered the woman’s phone on the second call, and the alleged scammer said he was “Officer David Wesson.” Officials said that when detectives confronted him on the phone, he threatened to arrest them for interfering. Detectives told him to “come down to the police department and try to make an arrest,” and he has yet to show up.
Following the incident, APD is reminding people not to automatically trust Caller ID, as “spoofing” software can modify identifying information on Caller ID and is being used with increasing frequency for scamming.
The agency is also reminding people that no federal agency or business will ever request that you send cash in the mail. Many scammers give fake badge numbers or customer service representative numbers to sound believable, they said.
“Do not believe a caller’s identity unless you know the caller or can confirm they are who they claim to be,” APD said. “When in doubt, hang up and call the entity phone numbers posted on official websites.”
The FTC offers information on what to do if you think you have been scammed.