Police phone scams are on the rise. Individuals and groups pretend to be police officers and prey upon innocent citizens, especially the elderly. There are a variety of police scams out there to look out for. It’s important to know what they are and how to react so you can protect yourself.

  1. Warrant for your arrest. A popular police phone scam right now is when someone calls, pretending to be a police officer, and informs you that there is a warrant out for your arrest. They may claim is due to unpaid taxes or some other offense. These threatening calls usually tries to lure people into meeting them in a public place to deliver thousands of dollars to stay out of jail. The truth is this is just a scam. It can be alarming at first and you may fear being in trouble, but the police will never call you to obtain funds or deliver the news of a warrant or arrest and they will never meet you at a random location to accept cash. Keep in mind that if a warrant were out for your arrest, you would be delivered paperwork by a uniformed police officer. Protect yourself against this fraud and do not meet anyone or give anyone money if they demand it in this manner.
  2. Outstanding debts. If you do owe an outstanding debt, the police will not call to collect the money. Don’t fall for this police scam. When an individual owes money to a company, the company would file a lawsuit as a last resort to collect the money and you would be served notice by mail or in person by a process server. You would receive official court documents, not a threatening phone call.
  3. The grandparent call. Another popular police scam is when a fake call is placed to a grandparent stating that the grandchild is in trouble and needs money posted for bail. Again, these scammers are preying on the elderly.
  4. Police foundation scam. Another phone scam is when a caller poses as a representative for the police foundation. They request a donation over the phone in a high pressure sales pitch. In general, the police foundation doesn’t solicit donations by phone. When in doubt, request that the caller sends you a request in writing and do your research before making any type of monetary donation. They may even send a letter that looks official, but its important to look for key elements like the letterhead, where the letter was mailed from, if there is a nonprofit number, and if it mentions a tax deduction for the donation.

The best way to protect yourself from these police scams that are on the rise is to be skeptical, hang up the phone, never give out personal information, never give credit card numbers, and do not meet them in a public place to withdraw funds or give them gift cards. Police officers would never make such phone calls or accepts funds in this way.