Columbus Police say that two local residents were scammed out of thousands of dollars after they received a call from a person claiming they were from their department. Lt. Matt Harris, CPD spokesman, says that the caller threatened the victims with arrest if they did not pay a fine in regards to alleged back taxes that they owed. The victims advised that the phone call originated from (812) 376-2600, the number for the Columbus Police Department help desk.
Detective Ryan Linneweber stated that it appears the suspects are using a cell phone masking application to make it appear that they are calling from the Columbus Police Department. During the phone call, the suspect instructed the victims to purchase gift and phone cards for payment to avoid arrest, costing them $6,000.
Harris stresses that the Columbus Police Department does not solicit payment for warrants over the telephone. In similar incidents, he noted that he could not think of a single police or government agency that require payment via gift cards, phone cards or wire transfers. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any phone call or document, you should contact law enforcement directly.