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The Berryville Police Department was made aware of a scam circulating within the community that utilizes the police department’s telephone number. The offender(s) in this scam is cloning the official police department phone number of (540) 955-3863 to appear on caller identification devices. When the call is answered, the victim is told that a warrant is in the process of being issued for their arrest and that the charge will be “theft by deception”. The victim is then given the chance to avoid this process by paying off their outstanding debt. The victim is advised to purchase transferrable money cards and provide the numbers from the cards to the offender(s).
Please be aware that no law enforcement or government agency would ever require an individual to purchase transferrable money cards in order to pay a debt to avoid arrest. This is a common ploy among scammers where arrest is threatened in order to obtain financial gain through the use of instruments that are difficult to trace. The community should also be aware that caller identification devices can be manipulated through the use of electronic devices and computers. Phone numbers to legitimate government entities are often “cloned” in order to appear official or increase the likelihood that you will answer the phone.
To find out more information about scams, or to report an incident of fraud the following resources are dedicated to consumer protection:
Federal Trade Commission www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
Virginia Office of the Attorney General www.oag.state.va.us/consumer-protection