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Police Warn of ‘Bill Collector’ Phone Scams

Police say an increasing number of Arlington residents are getting phone calls from scamsters claiming to be bill collectors.

The police department issued the following press release today regarding the fraudulent phone calls.

The Arlington County Police Department has recently seen an increase in reports of telephone scams. There have been at least four instances where a man with a thick Indian accent has called victims claiming to be a bill collector. This suspect was quite aggressive over the phone and one woman was pressured into giving him her bank account number.

These, and all phone fraud cases may be prevented by utilizing simple tips regarding your personal information.

  • Never give your credit card info out when you receive a phone call. Legitimate companies don’t call you to ask for a credit card number over the phone.
  • Never give your bank account, social security, or credit card number to anyone you don’t know or cannot trust.
  • If the person is from a legitimate bill collector, they should have paperwork to prove it.
  • Say no to any offer or deal that is only available “right” now.
  • If you are offered a prize but are asked to pay for a “processing fee” or “taxes” is advance, it is likely a scam.
  • Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity, this includes police department “unions or associations”.
  • Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay services only after they are delivered.
  • When an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Other popular scams are elaborate stories concerning a friend or loved one.
  • A friend e-mails you from a foreign country where they were robbed and need money wired for assistance.
  • Someone has hired a “hitman” to kill you, but if you pay him, he will spare your life because you are a good person.
  • Your grandchild is stranded in a foreign country and needs money wired to them to get home.

The Arlington County Police Department understands that it may be embarrassing to fall for these scams, but we urge you to report phone and e-mail fraud if you encounter it at 703 228-4300 or www.arlingtonva.us/police.

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