Harrisonburg Police Department Warns Public of Phone Scam

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Harrisonburg Police Department Press Release:

Harrisonburg, Va. – The Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD) is warning residents of a recent scam attempt that occurred on February 8, 2017. Officers with HPD responded to a call for service where the victim reported she was receiving threats from an unknown person.

The victim reported that her cell phone rang several times in the morning from the same phone showing a “540” area code. When answering one of the calls, a female was heard crying and asking for, “Mom,” telling her that she needed help.

The victim thought this may be her daughter and began asking her questions when a man took the phone. The man ordered the victim to pay a large sum of money in order to have her daughter returned safely. During this time, those with the victim were able to contact her daughter and confirmed that she was not in any danger.

Through investigation, HPD was able to determine that the phone call was made from outside of the United States, and has been used in similar scams reported in other states. If you receive a phone call like this, it is important to remember the following:

  • Never provide personal information or financial information to someone over the phone
  • If you or someone you love are threatened in a call like this, remain calm and ensure that your loved one is safe
  • Never purchase gift cards or wire money to the person calling you
  • Always contact police to investigate the legitimacy of the call

If you have received a call like this and provided financial information to someone through this type of scam contact your local police department or report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). More information about recognizing scams and how to report them can be seen on line at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams.