Scammers are sending letters to Arlington residents, fraudulently claiming to be Arlington County authorities and threatening punishment if a debt is not paid over the phone.
The Arlington County Police Department issued a warning about the scam today, showing images of scam letters that appear to come from an official source. The scammers claim to be part of a non-existent “Benefits Suspension Unit” or “Tax Processing Unit,” and threaten to cut off Social Security benefits or seize wages, police say.
Those that receive such letters are encouraged to report them to police via an online form.
More from ACPD:
The Arlington County Police Department is warning the public about scam mailings that threaten individuals with seizure of their wages and Social Security benefits to satisfy alleged non-payment of taxes. Recipients are instructed to call a toll-free number by a set date or further enforcement action will be taken against them.
The mailings use a fraudulent government seal and are sent from the ‘Benefits Suspension Unit, Arlington County, Public Judgement Records’ and/or the ‘Tax Processing Unit, Internal Processing Service, Arlington County, Public Judgement Records.’ This office does not exist.
If you have been a victim or target of a scam in Arlington County, report to police using the online crime report.
Scammers may use various techniques to fool potential victims. Avoid becoming a victim by following these practices:
- Be suspicious of any unsolicited phone calls, emails, mailings or in-person solicitations which request funds or claim that you owe money.
- Never use a phone number provided to you from an individual making threats to verify their credibility. Use a verified phone number to contact a government agency if you’re concerned you might owe money.
- Avoid unusual payment methods. No government agency will instruct you to resolve your debt using a payment method such as Bitcoin, money wires, mailed cash or gift cards.
- Keep your information private. Don’t share your personal information with organizations you are unfamiliar with, don’t have ties to and did not initiate contact with.
- Take your time. If you are requested to act quickly or there is a stated emergency, it may be a scam. Scammers create a sense of urgency to get you to act impulsively.
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Governor Extends Business Closures — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced that he will extend Executive Order Fifty-Three for two weeks, through Friday, May 8, 2020. Executive Order Fifty-Three originally signed on March 24, bans crowds of more than 10 people; closes recreation, entertainment, and personal care businesses; and limits restaurants to offering takeout and delivery services only.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]
Wi-Fi Available in Two Library Parking Lots — “Arlington residents who lack reliable internet service at home during the COVID-19 pandemic can now benefit from two new free County Wi-Fi hotspots. Access to the ArlingtonWireless network is now available at the Central Library and Columbia Pike Library parking lots.” [Arlington County]
Lane Closures on I-66 This Weekend — “Extended lane closures will occur this weekend beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 17, on I-66 East between the Dulles Connector Road and Sycamore Street for bridge work and other construction for the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project.” [Press Release]
Buses to Toot Horns in Unison — “[Today] at 3 p.m., ART buses will join transit agencies around the country in honking their horns to honor transportation and other essential workers. Thank you to the ART bus drivers and staff, and all essential workers, for your work!” [Twitter]
Police Warn of Coronavirus Scams — “FRAUD ALERT: Be aware of COVID-related scams and know how to protect yourself. ACPD reminds you that the IRS will not call, text, email you or contact you via social media to request money or personal information related to economic impact payments.” [Twitter]
Disastrous Debut for Fairfax Distance Learning — While Arlington Public Schools catches flak for deciding not to teach new material until the fall, Fairfax County public schools have cancelled online classes for the rest of the week after the school system’s distance learning technology suffered a series of major failures. [Fairfax County Public Schools, Washington Post]
Rent Rising in Arlington — “The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,840 and for a two-bedroom apartment was $2,130 in Arlington, based on the latest data from Apartment List. The growth rate of 3.7 percent from 12 months before compares to a national increase of 1.7 percent during the same period.” [InsideNova]
Rolling Thunder Rides Again — “The massive Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally staged in Washington each Memorial Day weekend had its final ride last year, but the roar of engines isn’t going away… The 2020 version of the ride has new organizers, a new sponsor and a new name, but participants and spectators might not notice the changes.” [Washington Post]
Cat Shot With Arrow Adopted — “Cupid is going home! His new mom and dad were SO excited to meet Cupid and make him a part of the family. He was purring and giving them head-butts right away, and we wish him all the best in his new home!” [Facebook, WJLA]
Watch Out for Coronavirus Scams — “As public health concerns continue to grow surrounding the coronavirus, Attorney General Mark R. Herring is urging Virginians to be wary of any coronavirus related scams. Scams could include selling products that purport to prevent the coronavirus, spreading misinformation, or pretending to solicit donations for victims of the disease.” [Press Release]
To combat a new scam, Arlington County Police are making it clear: they’re not going to call and threaten to arrest you unless you pay them with a prepaid debit card.
The department says it has received several reports of residents receiving unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from an Arlington police officer. The caller asserts that the victim has “an outstanding warrant for their arrest” for an unpaid fine and demands payment, threatening to arrest the victim unless a payment is received via — it’s then revealed — prepaid debit cards.
“The Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens that agency representatives have never and will never call to solicit funds or collect fines,” police said.
More from an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department is warning the public about a telephone scam that uses the threat of arrest to extort money from potential victims.
Several residents have reported receiving unsolicited phone calls claiming they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest. The caller claims to be a Captain with the Arlington County Police Department and demands immediate payment for an alleged fine. Through threats and intimidation, the caller attempts to convince residents to purchase prepaid debit cards and provide the identification numbers which allows the scammers to obtain the money from the cards.
If you receive a call of this nature with someone claiming to be a member of Arlington County law enforcement, immediately hang up and verify the claim by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703.558.2222.
Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Scam
The Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens that agency representatives have never and will never call to solicit funds or collect fines. Reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a scam by following these crime prevention tips:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.
- Never use a phone number provided to you from the caller to verify their credibility.
- Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact.
- Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, hang up.
After making a verification call, if you find that you were a target or victim of a scam, please file an online police report or call the Emergency Communications Center at 703.558.2222.
Arlington Man Accused Of Abusing Boy — “A teacher at Anne Beers Elementary School in Southeast Washington has been charged with sexually abusing an 11-year-old student between December 2016 and April 2017, according to police and documents filed in court. David Christopher Noble, 46, of Arlington, Va., was arrested Monday and charged in an indictment with several sex abuse counts and with threatening the boy and his family.” [Washington Post]
Big Raise for Arlington Startup — “Enterprise software company Stardog announced Tuesday morning that it had raised $9 million of a Series B round to expand its product offerings as well as its engineering, customer success, sales and marketing teams. The Arlington, Virginia-based maker of an enterprise data unification platform secured the funding in a round led by New York City-based venture capital firm Tenfore Holdings.” [Technically DC]
Scams Still Targeting Local Residents — “ACPD is warning the public about two telephone scams targeting area residents… learn about the outstanding warrant scam and a scam referencing Dominion Energy and ways to protect yourself.” [Twitter]
Generator Work in Courthouse This Weekend — “Generator replacement at Justice Center means no parking/sidewalk access on 14th Street between N Troy and N Courthouse Road. Expect early a.m. noise for crane set-up… This work was rescheduled from last weekend for this coming Saturday, Nov. 2.” [Twitter]
Wardian Wants to Go Full Gump Next Year — Newly-minted MCM50K champ Michael Wardian “has participated in more than 250 marathons and another 150 ultramarathons. His longest distance thus far is a 400K (nearly 250 miles) through the Gobi Desert that was self-navigated and took him four days… Next year, he hopes to run across the continental United States, but don’t compare him to Forrest Gump; he says he’s heard that one a few too many times.” [Arlington Magazine]
Four Percent of Nuptials in Va. Are Same-Sex — “Same-sex couples have made up one of every 26 marriages in Virginia since such unions were legalized in the commonwealth in 2014.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
New Noise Enforcement Tools — “Arlington government officials have added new tools in an effort to address nighttime noise violations from restaurants and bars. The new policy is designed to target ‘the ones who consistently refuse to comply’ in resolving noise complaints, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac told County Board members on Oct. 22.” [InsideNova]
Beyer on Aircraft Noise — “Today, Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) sent a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration expressing concerns about its recent announcement to make changes to flight paths at DCA to accommodate Secret Service needs without giving meaningful consideration to community interests.” [Press Release]
Video: Amazon Truck Towed in Crystal City — “Can’t say we didn’t warn you… controversial Advanced Towing removes an @amazon truck from ‘National Landing.'” [Twitter]
Housing Supply Down, Prices Up — “The Arlington County, Virginia, housing market continues to get more expensive, and potential buyers continue to have fewer and fewer houses and condos to consider.” [WTOP]
What Goes Into an Arlington Nat’l Cemetery Burial — “If you live near Arlington, you may be familiar with the sound of cannon fire early in the morning. The Presidential Salute Battery fires cannons for military ceremonies in Washington and is the only unit of its kind in the Army. ” [WAMU]
Nearby: Nats World Series Scam — Per Fairfax County Police: “Our Detectives are investigating an increasing number of scams involving the sale of @Nationals World Series tickets. Please use caution when purchasing tickets from sources other than @MLB authorized dealers.” [Twitter, FCPD]
It’s Columbus Day — Despite the federal holiday, all Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be open today. Barring breaking news, ARLnow will be publishing on a limited schedule today. [Arlington County]
Theft from Casual Adventure — From an Arlington County Police crime report: “At approximately 11:35 a.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered a business at approximately 5:30 p.m. on October 9, selected numerous fleece jackets before fleeing the scene without paying.” [Arlington County]
ACPD Warns of Phone Scam — “Residents have reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from individuals fraudulently claiming to be technicians with Dominion Energy. These individuals accuse the victims of having overdue bills which must immediately be paid, or their power will be disconnected. The caller then provides a fraudulent claim number and phone number where the funds may be paid and often requests payment using a prepaid debit or gift card.” [Arlington County]
Governor Issues Drought Watch — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced a statewide drought watch advisory for the Commonwealth of Virginia. A drought watch is intended to increase awareness of current conditions that are likely to precede a significant drought event.” [Press Release, Capital Weather Gang]
Circus Returns to Rosslyn — Updated at 3:45 p.m. — Conservative provocateurs Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl are holding yet another press conference this week outside Burkman’s Rosslyn townhouse. The duo say they will be joined by a “longtime drug dealer” for prominent Democratic members of Congress. [Twitter]
Nearby: Four Mile Run Trail in Alexandria to Reopen Soon — “A bridge spanning the last gap on the Alexandria side of the Four Mile Run Trail has been put into place, but the trail remains impassable for pedestrians.” [ALXnow]
Helicopter Complaints Continue — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), one of the lawmakers who requested the study, said that helicopter noise is ‘our number one constituent complaint’ and that the number of complaints has risen steadily since he took office in 2015.” [Washington Post]
Early Morning Apartment Fire — “Units were called to 2400 blk 27th Ct S for fire in 4 story garden apt. On arrival crews found balcony #fire on floors 1 & 2 being controlled by #firesprinklers. Fire extinguished, no extension inside. No injuries.” [Twitter]
New Election Chief Sworn In — “When Gretchen Reinemeyer was sworn in as Arlington County’s general registrar, she became only the fifth person to hold the position since it was created in 1947. Reinemeyer is succeeding long-time registrar Linda Lindberg who is retiring at the end of the month after serving more than 25 years in the Arlington Voting and Elections Office–16 of them as general registrar. [Arlington County]
YHS Student Helps Improve Pedestrian Safety — “Pedestrians in Arlington, Virginia, may notice flashing yellow lights when crossing the street, thanks to one high schooler who’s working to make streets safer… Jake Smith, who graduated Yorktown High School on Thursday, interned with the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services to help them plan their beacon project and keep cars accountable.” [NBC 4, Arlington County]
Zoning Keeps Parts of Arlington Exclusive — “Arlington does have a decent amount of area zoned for multi-family housing, but it’s concentrated in the more southern parts of the county. This makes North Arlington completely inaccessible to many and is the source of the county’s geographical inequality.” [Blue Virginia]
Dozen New Arlington Police Officers — “The Arlington County Police Department welcomed 12 new officers this week, as Session 140 graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy (NVCJA) and took their oath to serve and protect the residents and visitors of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]
Local Businessman Sentenced — “A prominent Northern Virginia businessman has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for multiple fraud schemes that cheated investors out of roughly $20 million. Todd Hitt, 54, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court in Alexandria to soliciting investments in building projects as part of what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.” [Associated Press, Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Crystal City BID Proposes Expansion — “The Crystal City Business Improvement District has submitted its proposal to Arlington County to officially expand its borders into Pentagon City and the county’s portion [of] Potomac Yard as Amazon.com Inc. prepares to establish its second headquarters in the area collectively branded as National Landing.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Planning More Housing Initiatives — “Even by its own estimation, the Arlington County government’s success rate in stemming the exodus of affordable housing in Arlington has been hit-or-miss, and the local government at times has been viewed as unimaginative and overly bureaucratic by those who want to see more aggressive efforts at building and retaining housing accessible to lower- and middle-income residents.” [InsideNova]
Twilight Tattoo Begins Tonight at Ft. Myer — “Our 2019 Twilight Tattoo season is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, and run through Wednesday, July 31, with exception to July 3 and July 10, 2019… Twilight Tattoo is an hour-long, live-action military pageant featuring Soldiers from The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band ‘Pershing’s Own.'” [Military District of Washington]
Stressed Out Judges at Crystal City Immigration Court — “One of the most backlogged immigration courts in America is in Arlington… 7 on your side witnessed and heard of additional tense exchanges in court from multiple judges stressed with the ever-increasing caseload.” [WJLA]
Nearby: ‘Woodchuck’ Scam in Falls Church — “The City of Falls Church Police are investigating a “woodchuck” scam that has cost a victim thousands of dollars. Police caution City residents to be aware of predatory services, especially for tree removal, landscaping, roof and chimney work, and other home services.” [City of Falls Church]
First Debate in Prosecutor Race — “In a contentious series of exchanges that marked their first debate, candidates for Arlington commonwealth’s attorney left no doubt they have decidedly different views on the role of prosecutor – and aren’t particularly fond of one another, either.” [InsideNova]
Road Closures Tonight in Crystal City — “The Crystal City 5K Fridays races will take place each Friday evening in April (5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th). The Arlington County Police Department will close the following roadways each race day from approximately 6:15 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. to accommodate these events…” [Arlington County]
Pentagon City Ritz Hosting Easter Event — “Based on the huge success we had in 2018 holiday season with Breakfast with Santa, we have decided to celebrate Easter with the Easter Bunny for our little ones.” [Ritz-Carlton]
School Board Challenger Announces Candidacy — “He aims to knock off incumbent School Board Chairman Reid Goldstein, but in a kickoff April 3, David Priddy avoided mentioning the incumbent by name and only tangentially touched on reasons he thinks Goldstein should be ousted.” [InsideNova]
County Starts Census Push — “In a packed room at Arlington Mill Community Center, County Manager Mark Schwartz launched Arlington’s Complete Count Committee — a group of 39 community members who will serve as Census ambassadors to ensure that every person in Arlington County is counted in the 2020 Census on April 1, 2020.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Tech Firm Acquired — “Tetra Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTEK) announced today that it has acquired eGlobalTech, a high-end information technology (IT) solutions, cloud migration, cybersecurity, and management consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia.” [BusinessWire]
Police Warn of Numerous Scams — Arlington County Police are warning members of the community about a number of scams that have recently been reported, among them the “Imminent Account” fraud, the “I am in Trouble” scam and the “Jury Duty” or “IRS” scam. [Arlington County]