YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Your phone rings and the caller ID says it’s the Youngstown Police Department — but really, it’s someone trying to fool you.
The department said an elderly couple got a phone call that appeared to be from Youngstown police. The man calling claimed to be a Youngstown police detective.
He said the couple owed taxes and threatened them, saying they would be arrested if they didn’t pay immediately. The victims said the man on the other line was very aggressive.
But they’re not the only ones who have been targeted by this scam.
“They ended up calling me seven times from my local police department and I didn’t answer,” Kendal Ginnetti said.
Scammers use a hacking mechanism called “spoofing,” where they can change the caller ID that pops up on your phone to something fake.
“I answered it and they said it was a detective, that they needed to talk to Chelsea Dudik right away,” Dudik said.
She is one of several people who have gotten a call from someone pretending to be a detective. The caller says you owe taxes and if you don’t pay it, you’ll be arrested.
In Dudik’s case, they asked for $12,000.
“I asked them if I could make payment arrangements because I had no idea and then they got mad at me because I couldn’t make a full payment,” she said.
Luckily, Dudik hung up before giving any personal information.
Youngstown police say their department or any other law enforcement agency will never contact someone on the phone to collect taxes. They ask that if you get a call like this, to hang up and call the police department at its actual phone number — 330-747-7911.
Scams similar to this one have happened in other communities, including Howland and throughout Trumbull County, but this is the first where the caller ID is cloned and the caller is claiming to be from YPD.