Watch for phone scammers pretending to be cops, Berkeley police say

Ethan Epstein/Senior Staff

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Berkeley Police Department released a Nixle alert about 4 p.m. Wednesday warning community members about an ongoing telephone scam in which individuals are attempting to “extort money” from unsuspecting victims.

The BPD Public Safety Communications Center received several calls Tuesday about the alleged scam, according to the alert. The caller — or callers — is described as having a heavily accented voice and claims to be a Berkeley police officer who threatens to arrest victims if they do not pay.

BPD said in the alert that this technique is referred to as “caller ID spoofing,” a practice that involves causing the intended victims’ telephone network to show that the call came from a place different from its origin.

BPD stressed in the alert that it was not making these phone calls and urged victims of the scam to report the crime. If victims receive calls like these, the alert suggests to ask the “officer” for a callback number to verify their identity with the BPD Public Safety Communications Center.

Ani Vahradyan is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anivahrad.