The Holland Police took 2 separate fraud complaints yesterday from Holland residents who had received calls to their phone where caller ID showed “Holland Police Department”. The phone number shown was actually the correct phone number to our department despite not originating from our department.
In one of the instances, the victim had initially received a phone call and the caller ID showed “Social Security Administration”(SSA). During that call, a person claiming to be an agent with the SSA told him there was a warrant for his arrest and he needed to purchase gift cards and then provide the numbers off the gift cards to the caller. The victim, after suspecting he had been scammed, was headed to the Holland Department of Public Safety to report this when he received another call, but this time caller ID showed it to be from the “Holland Police Department”. He spoke to a person who claimed to be a police officer. This person demanded the victim call the SSA back at the number he had previously been given, telling him it was because the SSA had a warrant for his arrest and he needed to take care of it.
In the 2nd incident, the victim reported she had received a call and the caller ID showed it to be from the “Holland Police Department”. A person claiming to be an officer told the victim she was a suspect in several crimes and would need to purchase gift cards and provide the gift card information to avoid arrest.
In both cases the victims had purchased some gift cards and provided the specific details of the gift cards to the caller prior to realizing this was a scam.
Local police and other government agencies will never call demanding the purchase of gift cards or demand any type of payment over the phone. We would like to remind the public of the following:
- Don’t wire money, send cash, or use gift cards or cryptocurrency to pay someone who says they’re with any government entity. Scammers ask you to pay these ways because it’s hard to track that money, and almost impossible to get it back. They’ll take your money and disappear.
- Don’t give your financial or other personal information to someone who calls, texts, or emails and says they’re with the government, a financial institution or other organization. If you think a call or message could be real, stop. Hang up the phone and call the government agency or other entity directly at a number you know is correct.
- Don’t trust your caller ID. Your caller ID might show the government agency’s real phone number or even say “Holland Police Department,” for example. But caller ID can easily be faked. It could be anyone calling from anywhere in the world.
- Don’t click on links in unexpected emails or text messages. Scammers send emails and text messages that look like they’re from a government agency, legitimate business or other organization, but are designed to steal your money and your personal information. Don’t click on any link, and don’t pass it on to others. Simply delete the message.