The Delaware State Police has been investigating multiple incidents in which victims receive phone calls from subjects posing as troopers and are advised they are wanted and/or owe bail money. These subjects are utilizing spoofed, Delaware State Police-issued phone numbers. Many of the victims of these scams have been individuals listed on the Delaware sex offender registry.
As a reminder, the 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.
“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 sensitive data – 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 voicemail if you have not set 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.