BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Vestavia Hills Police say scammers are spoofing their phone number.
“Spoofing” is when a person makes their number look like someone else’s. Usually one that you’d recognize.
One woman says she got a call from someone she thought was from the Vestavia Hills Police Department. They told her they had a warrant she had to take care of and gave her an 800 number to call where she could pay. That’s when she got wise and called the real police station number.
The problem is, the program scammers use to spoof is actually legal. Businesses use it to spoof local area codes so more people will answer the phone.
Officials say police won’t call you to say you owe them money, and especially not out of the blue.
“They’re going to send you some type of mail, you will have gotten a speeding ticket, a traffic ticket of sorts, you will have already been dealing with police in regards to some issue,” says Smitherman.
Scammers play on your lack of experience dealing with government agencies.
“Anyone calling you unsolicited, demanding payment that you have no prior knowledge of is always going to be a red flag,” says Smitherman
Don’t be afraid to hang up and call the real number of the agency to check it out. Officials say it’s better not to answer a strange number at all because once you fall for one scam, your numbers is then marked and other scammers will begin to call.