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Police: Scammers pretend to be cops

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Law enforcement officers are being impersonated in a recently reported phone scam.

Residents have reported receiving calls from individuals posing as Wake Forest police officers. The subjects tell the victims to purchase and send various gift cards to avoid being arrested for outstanding warrants. The caller often claims a warrant has been issued, but the victim can pay a fine to avoid being arrested.

Sometimes, the scammer asks the victim to buy MoneyPak or Google Play gift cards. Then, the caller asks for the code on the back. In most cases, the caller can spend the money before the victim can stop payment or contact the police.

Wake Forest Police say these con artists are trying to exploit people’s fears. According to polic:

• Fines cannot be paid directly to an officer by wiring money or with prepaid credit or gift cards.

• Never use Google Play gift cards to pay for anything outside Google Play.

• Never share the code on the back of a gift card.

• Never provide or confirm personal or financial information to anyone who calls you.

• Legitimate public officials won’t call to threaten you with arrest for failing to pay a fine or court costs.

Callers who try to get victims to use a prepaid debit card or a gift card to pay money are almost always scammers. To avoid being scammed in this way, look up the phone number of the company or agency asking for the payment and call the number directly to ask about the request.

If you believe you have been a victim of this type of crime, report it to the Wake Forest Police Department at 919-554-6150.