Spokane Co. Sheriff urging phone scam awareness

Spokane Co. Sheriff urging phone scam awareness

SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane County woman fell victim to a phone scam, and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office is urging the community needs to come together to help prevent these crimes.

"I was out shopping and I received a phone call from someone impersonating the police," the woman, who didn't want to give her name, explained.

"At first I thought it was a joke because this guy said that there was a warrant out for my arrest," she explained, "and I thought, 'oh yeah sure I know I haven't done anything wrong.'"

But the man was persistent, telling her she hadn't shown up for grand jury duty and therefore needed to pay almost $2,000 in fines. He threatened her with jail time if she didn't pay right away, but said once she came to the police precinct, they would reimburse her with a cashier's check.

"The more he talked, the more afraid I was," she said.

The man stayed on the phone with her as she got the money ready.

"He made me go get money and go to Rite Aid and buy Green Dot cards, which I had no clue what they were. I never had to use anything like that," she said.

The Sheriff's Office says once the man received the card numbers, the call was dropped, and the victim's money stolen.

This woman says in hindsight, it's obvious this was a scam. But in the moment, her fear kept her from thinking clearly.

"I was pretty scared and determined to follow through with what the guy said."

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says if you receive a call like this, here are some tips to follow:

  • "Law enforcement, the courts, government agencies or reputable businesses will never threaten to arrest you, or demand payments over the phone.

  • Resist the urge to act quickly. Verify the information by calling the "agency" at phone numbers you looked up, not ones provided by the scammers. Report the incident to Crime Check at 509-456-2233.

  • Contact your family or friends. Tell them about the call before taking any action."

"If you have any suspicion at all, go to the police," the woman said.

This woman says she wishes she had trusted her gut when the scammer came calling.

"It really destroyed my trust," she said.

The Sheriff's Office is also urging businesses who sell prepaid cards like these Green Dot cards, to look out for their customers by posting information about scams, and mentioning scams to people who purchase large amounts of cards or wiring funds.