After receiving several complaints, officers at the department learned that scammers are using a phone app to disguise phone numbers as a City of Johnson City phone number that appears on the receiver’s caller I.D. In some cases, the scammers will tell victims that they are a Johnson City police officer and have an arrest warrant for failing to appear for jury duty. The caller tells the victim that he or she can avoid arrest by paying a fine or bond amount on the fake warrant.
A second circulating call is from a man posing as a Johnson City police officer asking for donations for the department. In both scams, the caller will tell the receiver to purchase prepaid debit cards, then instruct the victim to read the card number to the caller over the phone. This ensures that the scammer can remotely remove funds from the debit card into another account.
The Johnson City Police Department warns the community to beware of these phone calls, and reminds the public that it’s not in the department’s policy to solicit donations or ask citizens to pay fines or bonds over the phone. Past scammers have posed as members of the IRS and tell the intended victim that they owe money and attempt to collect funds in the same way – with prepaid debit cards.
The department warns against giving personal information over the phone, or sending money over the phone or through wire transfers. Any calls from a suspected scammer posing as a police officer with the Johnson City Police Department should be reported by calling 434-6125. Victims of scams should file a report by coming to the department and speaking with an officer, or call 911 for an officer to respond to the victim’s address.
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