Scammers clone St. Charles Police Department phone number in several states

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SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) (4/4/2019) - Scammers are using the St. Charles Police Department's phone number to defraud victims in several states, according to the village.

Residents from several states have reported receiving calls from a number purportedly from the St. Charles Police Department. The department shows up on caller ID, along with a phone number registered to the village office.

The scam involves a well-known ruse, claiming the victim has a warrant out for their arrest and they need to send money to clear it. Scammers either seek immediate payment from gift cards or personal financial information, such as bank account or credit card numbers.

The St. Charles Police Department has notified its telephone provider and federal authorities about the scam.

“We have contacted Charter (Spectrum) regarding this matter to make sure we were not hacked,” said St. Charles Police Chief John Meehleder. “We have also made a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) so that they may investigate this fraudulent activity as well.”

He pointed out St. Charles police never solicit payments from the community over the phone. Officers also never seek personal financial information.

“This type of fraud is very difficult to investigate,” Meehleder said. “Most of the time, these operations are based outside the United States and are impossible to track down. It is frustrating that more can’t be done but the best thing to do when you get these sort of threatening suspicious calls is to simply hang up.”