I had a pretty strange call earlier today that lasted for quite long (37 minutes) that wasn’t like any scam I’ve heard about before, which made me believe that it was real for a while.
I got a call from a number that claimed to be an officer from a particular NYPD precinct, and when I searched the number, it indeed corresponded to this precinct’s phone. The officer identified yourself, then asked to speak with [my real name]. Then, she proceeded to ask a couple questions about whether I am familiar with some [foreign country number] or received calls around a particular date, of which I denied as I never heard of these. Eventually, she told me after that my information was used to open a phone number in [foreign country] and that this number was used in investment scams, and that the reason she was calling is that the “Internet Crime Complaint Center” (US-based) received a case referral from the [foreign country] fraud handling and that she was in charge of investigating the referral; however, the larger case was not under the US jurisdiction.
Then, I was told that in the meanwhile I should contact the foreign government agency (I wasn’t given any contact details here) and discuss with them my side of the story. However, I said that I don’t speak that language, and she said that she would confer with her superiors as to how to handle this situation, and that she would give a call back within the day.
Afterwards, I was a bit suspicious so I called the precinct number again and reached the main hotline of the station, and I was told that they have gotten several inquiries about a similar call over the past few days, which made it seem clearly a scam. Has anyone seen a similar scam before? I don’t quite understand what could be the goal here, if no personal information or money was asked in the call.
The worst part is that these scams often originate in the US.
Hi and welcome to the community!!
I’m a retired police officer and this scam is not a common one, but not unheard of.
As you figured out, they were spoofing the phone number of a legit NYPD precinct number.
Any crime in a foreign country would be under federal jurisdiction, not a local PD (if the country and the US had international extradition agreement, and they were severe enough …blah, blah)
Anything involving a phone is also sole jurisdiction of the feds and no US law enforcement would ever have you call a foreign country, But I’m sure you’re aware of all of this by now.
Obviously you were smart enough not to give any personal information or details (much credit to you!)
They may have been “feeling you out” and you can rest assured that it would have led to them trying to get money from you somehow.
You did the right thing by calling the proper number for the precinct. My personal advice to everyone I know is: Even if you are in trouble or being questioned, ALWAYS invoke your right to remain silent! Never answer any questions, even to law enforcement, ever!
This is not legal advice, it’s just personal advice.
These are so interesting to me, and infuriating. Great job @penguin99999 spoofed calls are super challenging and getting a “call-back” number can be next to impossible.
What was so scary is that the whole thing seems super real, and seems extremely high-effort for a typical scam. It’s just too unlike other scams until I started thinking more deeply afterwards.
Mostly out of curiosity this time, have you seen a scam as high-effort as this? And how would they know who to target for these high-effort scams? I believe I’m a lot more educated (and in a better capacity for a payday on the scammers’ end) than a random person you’d get from calling a random number, so could this have been a factor? I’m worried that the scammer might have done sufficient research into me.
I’d be very interested to see a link for a scam as high-effort as this. I tried searching around online and I wasn’t able to find any.
I emailed the precinct and got a reply from the chief saying that this is clearly a scam, so I’m quite sure at this point. But I’m still very curious about why I can’t find anything about this sort of scam online. That was my first instinct when I got the call, to search whether there’s patterns of similar scams going on, but I couldn’t find anything.
And with this scam being high-effort–the call was nearly 40 minutes–I’m worried that there might not be that many people who are being targeted and thus I might actually be in physical danger or something… I don’t know if I’m just being paranoid here.)
What’s scary is that this person told me one of my former addresses (I don’t live in the same state anymore). I also might have told some personal information accidentally in the call, but nothing too sensitive like my zip code or anything. I did tell my full name though, because I asked “Are you sure you got the right XXX YYY? My full name is XXX ZZZ YYY and none of my documents only have XXX YYY. Then she was, ‘Is this the XXX YYY at AAA address?’” Definitely dumb me but we all do dumb stuff at times. Anything I could do in this situation?