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The Twin Falls Police Department is receiving reports from citizens who are receiving fraudulent phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as police officers. The individuals making these calls say they are law enforcement officers and are asking citizens to call a specific phone number to resolve an issue regarding outstanding warrants.
The phone scam previously targeted other cities in Idaho, but the scammers now appear to be targeting citizens in the City of Twin Falls.
In the most recent report, a citizen received a call from an individual who was described as having a “strong accent” and who identified himself as a police officer. The caller stated that the citizen had outstanding traffic warrants and that the citizen needed to call a specific phone number with a 202 area code. The scammers have also threatened victims with fines and jail time for issues, such as failure to appear for jury duty, tax fraud, or outstanding traffic tickets.
Detectives with the Twin Falls Police Department who investigated the phone scam, say the scammers asks victims to purchase a pre-paid card at local retailers. They are then asked to provide the card numbers to the scammers, who transfer the pre-paid balance to an international bank account. Once the money has been transferred, it is extremely difficult to trace or retrieve the funds. This specific phone scam appears to me more aggressive toward victims. If the victim disconnects the call, the scammer will often call back with additional threats of arrest and jail time.
The Twin Falls Police Department began working with local retailers on Tuesday morning to educate them about the scam, and to help them identify signs that a customer may unknowingly be falling victim to the scam. Detectives are hoping that by being proactive to work with retailers, both police and business operators can help protect citizens and their finances.
Police are also reminding the public that officers will not call citizens and ask for cash to resolve warrants, traffic tickets and other fines. In most cases, individuals will be asked to resolve warrants, fines or other citations by going to the Twin Falls County Courthouse or Twin Falls Police Department.