‘Blood and cocaine’ scare tactic used in latest phone scam, police say

Local News

The caller says they are a law enforcement officer

FARRELL, Pa. (WKBN) – The Farrell Police Department is warning neighbors about the latest phone scam designed to steal your personal information.

The scam involves someone posing as a law officer calling to inform the victim that their name is connected to a rental car in Texas where blood and cocaine were found inside the vehicle.

The victim is then pressed to give the “officer” their social security number and financial information.

Another version of the scam involves a caller saying they are from the Social Security Administration and in addition to the car rental story, they tell the victim that offshore accounts have been found in their name and that their benefits will be cut off. Again, personal information is pressed from the victim.

The following details are repeated in many cases:

  • Car rental in Texas
  • Police find blood and cocaine in the car
  • Victim pressed to give out their social security number

Tips to avoid phone scams: (Courtesy: Federal Communication Commission)

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
  • If you use robocall-blocking technology already, it often helps to let that company know which numbers are producing unwanted calls so they can help block those calls for you and others.
  • To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list.

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