Berkeley police warn community about phone scam

Daniel Kim/File

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Berkeley Police Department reported an incident of a phone scam that targeted a community member Thursday and warned the Berkeley community to be wary of similar scams, according to a Nixle alert released Wednesday.

According to the alert, a woman received a call from a person who claimed to be “Officer Neil Matthew” of the BPD, though no such officer exists in the department. The caller ID displayed BPD’s listed nonemergency number — the alert said scammers are able to mask their own telephone numbers with official numbers.

The scammer demanded that the woman send him all of the money in her bank account through Bitcoin, claiming the woman was under investigation for “drug trafficking and fraudulent activities.” The scammer repeatedly called the woman from multiple phone numbers, including 911.

The alert also cited an FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center report that said the amount of cyber-enabled fraud crimes has been steadily increasing over the past few years.

BPD said the department will never directly call people threatening arrest should they not be sent money and said people should never give out their private information if they suspect the call is a scam.

Amanda Bradford is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.