On Tuesday, July 25, one of our patrol officers responded to a report of a suspicious circumstance involving what the individual believed to be a phone scam. In speaking with the man, we learned that a person called the Mountain View resident claiming to be a Mountain View police officer and mentioned he was investigating an identity theft complaint.
The resident, who believed it was a scam where the suspect was most likely going to ask for money, hung up once the caller put the individual on hold so that they could put the alleged "reporting party" of the identity theft on the phone to speak with him.
We wanted to take a moment to remind folks to be aware of phone scams. In scams such as these, most commonly a victim receives a phone call from a “spoofed” telephone number from a person claiming to be law enforcement officer, a bail bondsman, or government official claiming they have a warrant for their arrest, owe the IRS money, or have a relative in jail that needs to post a bond.
In some cases, the callers sometimes have some sensitive information regarding the victim they are calling and ask them to verify their personal information. The victim is instructed to purchase green dot cards or gift cards and to give the caller the code number on the back of them. In some cases, the victim is instructed to wire money. In other cases, the victim is asked to provide a credit card number to post a bond. Sometimes, victims are threatened with arrest if they don’t comply.
Please, always be careful not to release any personal identifying information without verifying who is calling you. If you have any doubt, ask for the caller’s name, badge number, and then hang up and call the police department or government agency directly. Nobody from the Mountain View Police Department is going to call you and ask you for money, ask you to purchase gift cards, or ask you to wire money. We will also never have an alleged victim speak to you directly over the phone regarding a pending case.
If you need to reach out to any agency regarding a potential scam, here are some numbers for you to use:
Mountain View Police Department: 650 903-6344
IRS Fraud – Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration: 1-800-366-4484
Consumer Complaints – Phone Scams: www.ftc.gov
Stay safe, Mountain View.