This week the Virginia State Police has been alerted by numerous residents within the Central Virginia and Augusta County regions of a threatening phone scam from an individual claiming to be a Virginia Police Sergeant. In two of those incidents, victims of the scam have purchased gift cards totaling sums of up to $1,200, which state police is now investigating. The phone scammer is also targeting those listed on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.
Based on the reports, the caller most commonly identifies himself as “Sergeant Yates of the Virginia State Police” and tells the individual one of two false claims:
1) There are arrest warrants on file for the individual
2) He will remove their DNA from the Virginia Sex Offender Registry
Regardless of the scammer’s story, he will always tell his victim that gift cards must be sent to prevent one from being arrested or to have one’s DNA removed from the Registry.
The State Police will never notify a resident by phone of an arrest warrant. Nor will State Police remove someone’s DNA or any information from the Sex Offender Registry.
No one should ever send gift cards to anyone who calls and threatens arrest, that a family member has been abducted, or suggests a bribe. No law enforcement or government agency will ever request payment via phone or by gift card.
These scammers are often very aggressive and relentless, meaning they may call repeatedly the same day and/or week to try and convince you they are telling the truth and must be paid. Your best recourse is simply hang up – every time. Do not engage. Do not give any personal information – birthdate, bank account, etc. – to the individual.
Scams can be reported to the Virginia State Police and/or the FCC at https://www.fcc.gov/consumer-guides.