The West Tisbury Police Department warned Islanders in a Facebook post about a scam that uses the department’s own phone number.
“This is a scam called spoofing, where someone calls you and it looks as though the police department is calling, because our number shows up,” the post states. “These individuals have been telling residents that they are with the Social Security office, and that multiple accounts have been opened in their name around the world. They then state that you have a warrant for your arrest. This is not true, and you shouldn’t divulge any information.”
West Tisbury Police Chief Matt Mincone said spoofs are a common occurrence, and make up a large portion of the “fraudulent activities” the Island’s police deal with. However, this call was concerning because it used the department’s own number, so the announcement was made to raise awareness. “It’s a concerning thing,” Mincone said.
If the police do have a real warrant, “we will ask you to come to the station and discuss it or to go to court and resolve the matter,” according to the announcement. Those who received similar calls and are unsure about the validity are invited to stop by the station for clarifications.
“We have other means to reach out to citizens in the community, without using scare tactics,” Mincone said.
For people who want to learn more about fraudulent activities and how to avoid them, Mincone suggests visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page about scams.