Friday, June 21, 2024

Police: Rise in Impersonation Scam Reports in James City County and Surrounding Areas

JAMES CITY COUNTY — Over the past week, the James City County Police Department and the Williamsburg-James City County Sheriff’s Office have observed a significant uptick in reports of scam attempts targeting residents.

According to James City County Police (JCCPD), individuals posing as law enforcement officers, often using aliases such as “Deputy Shawn Anby” or “Derek Petterson,” along with fabricated badge numbers, have contacted citizens via phone.

These scammers claim that federal or other warrants have been taken out against the individual and threaten arrest unless immediate payments are made, police said.  Victims are told they have missed court appearances and are instructed to transfer funds directly to the scammer, under threat of imminent arrest if they refuse to comply or disclose the situation to others. Payment methods requested include peer-to-peer payment apps, Coinstar, and cryptocurrency.

Police said the scammers have utilized phone numbers ending in -0860, -3356, and -7055, and their narratives are subject to change. Moreover, they have falsely claimed affiliation with law enforcement agencies in the region, such as the Richmond Police Department and the New Kent Sheriff’s Office.

Similar swindle scams have been reported by neighboring law enforcement agencies this year, according to officials. The Richmond Police Department issued a public alert in January, and the New Kent Sheriff’s Office reported similar incidents in March and April.

A recent victim in James City County suffered substantial financial losses, raising concerns that this surge in scam attempts may be linked to a broader network of fraudulent activities, the department cautions.

JCCPD urges citizens to exercise extreme caution and skepticism if they are contacted by anyone requesting money, gift cards, or personal and financial information — especially from those claiming to be law enforcement or from a court. The department stressed that no James City County law enforcement personnel will ever contact residents directly and request money be given.

Residents can always contact the alleged law enforcement agency directly to verify whether warrants exist, police said, cautioning that scams are becoming increasingly common and more complex, and it is imperative that awareness is raised and education is sought on how to protect oneself.

Anyone who has received suspicious communication recently is advised to contact law enforcement and report the matter.

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