Columbia police warn of ongoing phone scams
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department warned residents of multiple ongoing phone scams Monday.
CPD said it continues to receive calls about scammers calling residents and impersonating debt collectors, property management companies, the IRS and police officers to fraudulently obtain money from victims.
According to police, the callers manipulate caller ID to make the number appear to come from various agencies, including CPD.
Police said callers tell the potential victim a warrant is out for their arrest, stemming from a traffic violation, missed jury duty, a defaulted loan or another minor infraction. The callers then advise the victims that they may pay the fine over the phone to clear the warrant. They then attempt to convince the victims to wire the money via MoneyGrams or buy and activate a prepaid credit card.
CPD warned residents that while it will sometimes call someone to inform about a warrant, the department will never ask for personal information or payments over the phone.
Police said these signs may indicate you are being scammed:
- The caller is seeking payment on a debt for a loan you do not recognize.
- The caller refuses to provide information to you, and instead seeks information from you.
- The caller asks for personal financial or sensitive information.
- The caller exerts high pressure to try and scare you into paying, such as threatening to have you arrested or to report you to a law enforcement agency.
Police urge residents to not give out any personal information to the callers.