Walla Walla victim tricked by phone scammer using fraudulent caller ID

Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — When the pandemic forced people inside, scammers and thieves found innovative ways to trick victims into giving up their hard-earned money. Recently, a local woman was deceived into buying thousands of dollars worth of gift cards by someone claiming to be a Walla Walla sheriff’s deputy.

According to a release issued by Sgt. Gunner Fulmer, this victim was misled into purchasing $3,000 worth of Walmart gift cards. The scammer was able to trick the victim into making this choice because their caller ID showed that the call originated from the Walla Walla Police Department.

This wasn’t the scammer’s only attempt either — Sgt. Fulmer says the scammer called the victim numerous times posing as authority figures from a variety of entities. At one point, the scammer claimed to be an “agent” calling from Washington D.C., requiring that the woman pay $3,000.

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Police officials confirm that the woman did purchase $3,000 worth of Walmart gift cards.

Sgt. Fulmer of the Walla Walla Police Department provided a handful of useful tips for navigating similar situations:

1. You will never be called and asked to pay any type of penalty or fine over the phone. If you are convinced that it is a legitimate phone call, please go directly to the department or call to confirm before paying any money.

2. You will never be asked by any type of government agency (Police, Sheriff, Jail, IRS, State Department) to buy gift cards or green dot cards from Wal-Mart.

3. Keep in mind, people can use programs to change the appearance of their phone number to make it look like it is coming from a certain area. Example: I could make my phone number appear to be coming from the Walla Walla Police Department when it is not. You also do not have the ability to call these numbers back.

ALWAYS CONTACT THESE AGENCIES DIRECTLY OR GO IN PERSON TO CONFIRM BEFORE PAYING ANY MONEY!

Please be advised that these tips apply to jails when paying any type of fine, fee, or bail.

Previously, the FBI sent out a warning about an uptick in fraudulent phone scams in Washington state.

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