In response to spike in phone scams, State Police warns citizens of potential signs

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In a response to an alarming increase in phone scams in Virginia, State Police issued a warning against a specific gift card scam targeting seniors and convicted sex offenders.

The scam aimed at senior citizens will typically use personal information in order to frighten seniors into believing certain relatives have been arrested.

Scammers will convince seniors to send them money in order for their loved ones, who have not been jailed, to be released. 

Police have also received complaints from convicted sex offenders in the Northern Virginia region. The scammer, reportedly often threatening and verbally abusive, will claim that the convicted sex offender has a warrant out for their arrest.

The sex offender is instructed not to call State Police and that paying the fine is the only way to fix the issue. 

This particular scam is seen as a Class 1 misdemeanor, as it breaks a Virginia law that prohibits using information on the sex offender registry in order to harass or intimidate an individual on the list.   

State Police advise that the scammer will often manipulate the caller ID, known as “spoofing,” in order to appear as if the call were coming from a nearby police station.

Payment for these particular scams is asked to be submitted through an “eGift” cash card or similar payment options to a specific account given by the caller.  

Individuals who receive such calls should hang up and contact a local law enforcement agency or the Virginia State Police. People can also make complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which works with law enforcement to quell phone scam concerns and bring scam artists to justice. 

If you have a complaint, file it online or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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