Sitka, Alaska (KINY) Sitka police report telephone scammers have been a problem in recent months.
In a department press release, Sitka police said scammers are getting much more sophisticated in how they con money out of citizens. Lately, the scammers have used 'spoofed' numbers that make it appear than an authentic local number is calling.
A Sitka woman recently received a call that even appeared to have come from the Sitka Police Department's main number. She was told she had missed jury duty and had a warrant out for her arrest. In a twist, she was asked to pay a retainer in the form of gift cards to avoid arrest and send the payment to a Post office box outside of Sitka. In the meantime the suspects used her cell phone number, called her family members, and told them they had kidnapped their daughter and were holding her for ransom. A similar incident also occurred in Juneau this week. The abduction never happened and no money changed hands.
The Police Department emphasized that at no time will a legitimate government entity call citizens and demand payment in the form of gift cards. Most telephone scams occur after normal business hours when banks are closed and making the form of payment in gift cards seems like a reasonable option.
Police said if you ever doubt the veracity of a phone call, you should hang up immediately, and call the company back on a published telephone number.
More tips on avoiding scams can be found on the FBI website www.fbi.gov