Whidbey police warn of phony cop phone scam

Island police are warning the public of a telephone con where scammers pretending to be law enforcement officers tell people they can make phony arrest warrants go away by paying a fine.

They’re not cops, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

Police do occasionally call people with warrants, but they are only advised to bring themselves into the local jail, never to pay a fine. But calls are rare, as people are much more likely to get a face-to-face visit.

“If you actually have a warrant for your arrest, and law enforcement has your telephone number and address, the chances are very good that they will not call you, they will show up to where you are, with proper identification and take you into custody on the warrant, not take payments to make it go away,” the sheriff’s office said.

In the most recent calls, the scammer has claimed to be from the sheriff’s office or the Oak Harbor Police Department, and will often use the name of real officers from these agencies. The scammer will also often times have a good deal of personal information about the victim to help legitimize the call, the alert said.

If you suspect you’ve been contacted by a scammer, tell the caller you want to re-call them through the local dispatch center at 360-679-9567. If the caller is really a police officer and on duty, the center can put you in touch with them. Callers should also get the phone number they were called from, and write down any other details from the call, and file an informational report with the dispatch center.

The real police are tracking these calls and would like to know about them, the alert said.