Newberg police warn of new wave of phone scams
By Colin Ellis
Newberg Graphic reporter
Local police are cautioning residents against a new wave of scam artists calling over the phone and pretending to be police officers.
According to Brian Hagen, public information officer for the Newberg-Dundee Police Department, there have been a range of scam calls reported in the past few weeks, with reports coming in more frequently than in weeks past. Hagen said the scammers will call and claim to be police officers or other types of government agents, then tell the person on the line they owe money. The scammers say if the money isn't paid, a warrant will be issued. They have told some victims a warrant has already been issued and they must pay the fine over the phone immediately, Hagen said.
"Unfortunately, victims have given over their credit card numbers or other personal information, where the scammers get access to money and a loss occurs," he added. "Law enforcement does not collect payment info over the phone like this."
Hagen said a similar scam is occurring where the caller pretends to be from the IRS and claims the victim owes money in back taxes. As in the other phone scams, the victims give their credit card and personal information over the phone to the scammers.
A more alarming trend Hagen reported is when scammers' photo numbers appears on a victims' caller identification system as emanating from the NDPD.
"Impersonating phone numbers is possible through some third party apps or software," Hagen said. "Obviously this is problematic because when the police are actually calling you, it is usually important, however we do not ask for credit card info. If there is ever any doubt whether it is a law enforcement agency calling you, you can always call that agency's verified telephone number directly to make sure the call is real."
Hagen added that there is also a web-based scam making the rounds: a person working on their computer clicks on a link that states a virus has been detected on their computer. A phone number is listed for the victim to call where they are told to pay a fee to unlock the computer.
The city and surrounding areas have experienced their share of phone call scams in recent years. Earlier this year, the Oregon Department of Justice listed the top consumer complaints for 2017, with phone scams leading the list for the third year in a row with 5,378 complaints.