GRETNA, La. — If you get a call from someone who tells you he's from the Gretna Police Department and you're about to be arrested if you don't send money -- hang up.
"This isn't the Gretna Police Department," GPD Captain Russell Lloyd said. "This isn't how we operate."
Lloyd said on Sunday his department started receiving complaints from concerned citizens about the troubling scam.
Callers using the names of current Gretna police officers are telling people there is a warrant out for their arrest. The scammer then demands a cashier's check in an amount ranging from $200 to $500 to have the warrant recalled.
"I don't know a police department in this area that's going to call someone and say there's a warrant out for your arrest, send money here and we'll recall the warrant," Lloyd said. "A judge has to recall the warrant."
The scammers also "spoofed" the GPD's main phone number, making it the number that shows up on caller ID.
"When they call you it comes up the same area code and our main number," Lloyd said.
Crimes involving caller ID spoofing are on the rise in the Louisiana.
New Orleans technology expert Mark Lewis said the scammers are playing on people's fears.
"It's just horrible when you think about what they're doing in terms of taking advantage of people," Lewis said. "It's just not right, but they're finding a way because people continue to send them money when they shouldn't."
If you get a call you don't think is legitimate, Lewis recommends you ask for the caller's name, get their phone number and call them back.
"They're going to go I never called you," Lewis said. "What's this all about. Then you know it's a scam and that you don't have anything to worry about."
Lloyd said you can also do this.
"I would suggest hang up and call your local police department and let them know what's going on," Lloyd said.
You can also report a suspicious call to the Louisiana Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline. The number is 1-800-351-4889.
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