RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State Police said they’ve been alerted to an “alarming” increase in phone scams that target convicted sex offenders.
Troopers said the scammers pretend to be a Virginia State Police sergeant and threaten the person into paying hundreds of dollars in gift cards to them
“The Virginia State Police are also getting numerous calls from convicted sex offenders in the metro-Richmond region who are being told there is a warrant out for their arrest. The sex offender is advised not to call the Virginia State Police and that the only way to adjudicate the warrant is by paying off a fine,” police said.
Virginia law prohibits people from using information on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry to intimidate or harass a person listed. Violation of this is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
“The scammer provides instruction on how the payment should be submitted, usually through an “eGift” cash card or similar payment to a specified account or name given by the caller. The scammer will often pressure, threaten and be verbally abusive in order to intimidate the victim into complying with the scammer’s demands,” police said.
The caller also “spoofs” the caller ID to make it look like the call is coming from the local police office. Police say the scammers use prepaid phones and are usually not in the jurisdiction where the crime happened, making it hard for them to be apprehended.
State and local law enforcement will not call and request payment for a fine or warrant. Anyone who gets a call like this should hang up and call their local law enforcement agency. Complaints can also be made to the Federal Trade Commission online.
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