‘Dozens of victims’: Wayne County warns of police impersonation phone scam

‘There’s no such thing as, ‘pay me this money now or you will be arrested’'

Phone scams.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning about a phone scam that has already cost residents thousands of dollars.

The Sheriff’s Office says the phone scam includes someone impersonating police by name, with a phone number that looks like it’s coming from their office.

“It often begins with a simple phone call to the victim. The perpetrator, using names of real members of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, tells the victim they missed jury duty or that they (or a loved one) have an outstanding warrant. The phone number appears to be coming from the WCSO, but it is not. The scammers already have the victim’s personal information and then ask to either verify it or get more information. They then ask for money, often, in the form of cryptocurrency, but have also asked for debit card numbers and have used Apple Pay.”

“We have some victims who have lost thousands of dollars and believe there may be countless others who have not yet come forward.”

The Sheriff’s Office says they’re working to investigate the complaints and to find the perpetrators. They believe multiple scammers are involved.

“People naturally want to comply with the police, but please understand that we will never call and ask for money,” said WCSO Internal Affairs Captain Reid Chakrabarty. “There’s no such thing as, ‘pay me this money now or you will be arrested’.”

Important tips to avoid scams like these:

  • Do not verify personal information and do not give out personal information.
  • Never give money over the phone to someone you don’t know.
  • An Officer will never threaten to arrest you for not attending jury duty.
  • Call the police if the caller keeps harassing you. Hang up. Block the number.
  • Never agree to meet anyone.

If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of this scam, please report it: You can call WCSO dispatch at 313-224-0414. You can call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 or file a complaint online. You can also report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center here.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.