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Robocalls Spoof Michigan Police Chief for Scam Attempts

Police in Woodhaven, Mich., learned that caller ID was displaying the chief's full name, and a resident was told to send $10,000 to an address in California or face criminal charges.

(TNS) — After a Woodhaven resident received several calls with Police Chief Scott Fraczek's name showing on the caller ID, the department issued a warning to all alerting them to a scam.

Recently, the department was made aware that the caller ID displayed the chief's full name and the resident was told he needed to send $10,000 to an address in California, otherwise he would face criminal charges.

The resident contacted a family member who intervened and prevented the scam from going through.

He informed the chief of the situation.

After speaking with the department's information technology company, it was discovered that the police telephone number/caller ID had been spoofed.

Phone number spoofing, also known as caller ID spoofing, is when a caller intentionally alters the information sent to a caller ID display to hide their identity.

The caller's number may appear to be from a business, government agency, or even someone in the recipient's contacts.

"These scams are happening quite frequently and are targeting our older citizens," the department posted on its social media account. "Please speak with your elderly parents and friends and go over tips to avoid spoofing scams."

Gathering information at on spoofing in particular, residents were told the following:

—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" or "no."

—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.

—If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are present 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 voicemail if you do not set a password.

—Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they might have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at

"If you or someone you know has received a call we are asking that you contact us immediately and do not respond to any calls or emails from people or businesses you do not know."

Residents have thanked the department for bringing the situation to their attention.

© 2024 The News Herald, Southgate, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.