Police here are warning residents to be on the lookout for a phone scam that involves the police department.
In a Facebook post Sunday, Lt. Ashley Dixon said the department had been made aware of someone making phone calls posing as a Zebulon police officer and demanding money, even asking for bank card information.
“Basically someone called us and said they got a call and the caller ID showed as the Zebulon Police Department,” Chief Tim Hayworth said. “The (caller) stated that (the recipient) was a suspect in some break-in that occurred in Zebulon and they need to come to the department and talk to a detective, but if they want to go ahead and pay a fine up front, they can give their credit card info and it will all go away.”
As of Tuesday, Hayworth said, only the one person had reported the scam.
“We’re looking into it,” he said. “We have not heard from anyone else, or if it was simply targeted to this one person. If this has been tried on anyone else, we want them to give us a call.”
The chief thinks the scammer used a “spoofing” app that allows people to disguise their phone number.
Zebulon police have seen cases of people using the technology against others, specifically to hide their own number while making a harassing phone call. But this marked a first for someone borrowing the department’s name.
“The number is an internet-based number, so we have some different methods for trying to identify where the call came from,” Hayworth said. “If we can ID that number, we are obviously very interested in talking to that person.”
Charges for the act, Hayworth said, would range from fraud to impersonating an officer.
Anyone who suspects they have been targeted by the scam is asked to call the Zebulon Police Department’s real phone number, 919-823-1818.
Aaron Moody: 919-829-4528, @Aaron_Moody1