Detective Nikolas Rasheta, a public information officer with the Mesa Police Department, is warning residents of a scam reported this week.
According to Rasheta’s Aug. 16 blog post: “A Mesa resident recently received a phone call from a person saying they were from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The caller told the victim that she was the subject of an audit and was being investigated for fraud. She was told she needed to send money to the IRS via pre-paid cards or the local authorities would be notified. After providing the payment, the victim received a phone call that appeared to be from the Mesa Police Non-Emergency Line (480-644-2211). A suspect on the line identified themselves as a law enforcement authority and provided a fake identification number and stated the victim needed to report the fraud directly to authorities at the station and to not cancel the transaction through the bank. This spoofed call allowed the fraudulent scheme to conclude prior to canceling the transactions through the bank.”
This is a classic scam situation involving a technique called caller ID spoofing, Rasheta says. “Spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to indicate to the receiving call that the originator of the call is someone other than the true origination caller. With the internet and other technologies available we must stay vigilant of suspicious calls from whatever phone number they appear to be coming from. Please share this information with your friends and family, especially the elderly who are often targeted. If you ever receive a call that you think is suspicious, ask the caller to identify themselves and discontinue the conversation. Call the company or government authority yourself and verify if you have been called or are behind on your payments. If you receive a call that seems suspicious, do not provide any personal or financial information over the phone. Contact the police department and provide as much detailed information about the call as possible. Your call to police might save someone else in the community from a costly scam.”
The Mesa Police Department non-emergency number is: 480-644-2211, option 2.