Delaware State Police are issuing the following advisory in response to a recent phone scam involving a “spoofed phone number” in Sussex County.
Earlier this week, Delaware State Police were made aware of two incidents in which individuals received a phone call from what appeared to be from Delaware State Police Troop 5. In one incident, the victim was told they had to pay a fine on a sex offender charge and another was going to be arrested for jury duty fines.
As a reminder, Delaware State Police will never request payment for fines, traffic tickets or bail. All these transactions are conducted by the respective court systems and never over the phone. Electronic payments are also never requested via phone for court matters.
Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally.
The following tips can help you avoid becoming victim to a spoofing scam:
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you do so by accident, hang up.
- If a caller (live or recorded) suggests hitting a button to stop receiving calls from them, hang up. This can be a trick to engage you in conversation.
- Never give out any personally identifiable information – for example, account numbers, Social Security Number, passwords or PINs, or your mother’s maiden name.
- If a caller claims to be with a legitimate company, call back using the phone number on a statement you have from them, or on their verified, secure website. This is particularly important if the caller asks you to verify personal information or make a payment.
- If you are immediately pressured for information – be cautious. You are not obligated to answer any question asked of you.
- Set your own password for your voicemail. Some voicemail services are set up to automatically allow access to your mailbox if you call in from your own phone. If a scammer spoofs your number, they can access your messages unless there is a password or PIN requirement in place.
- Use a call blocking tool (talk to your phone company) or reputable app on your mobile device. There are different options for different platforms. Do some research and choose the one that makes the most sense for you.