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Longboat Key Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 6 months ago

Longboat Key resident receives call pretending to be from police department

The caller asked the resident for money, and said a warrant was out for their arrest.
by: Sten Spinella Staff Writer

A Longboat Key resident this month received an unlikely phone call from someone saying they were from the Longboat Key Police Department. The person calling said there was a warrant out for the resident’s arrest, and they had to pay money to settle the case.

None of this was true.

“We believe the caller imitated, aka ‘spoofed’ the number to make the call look like it was coming from the Police Department,” a press release from the department read.

The release went on to say that the department does not make such calls. If Longboaters get a call of this nature, they should contact the LBKPD at 941-316-1201.

Deputy Chief Frank Rubino said that while this specific form of scam hasn’t been prevalent on the island in the past, the general thrust – impersonating officials in an attempt for ill-begotten gains – is not uncommon.

If residents receive a similar call, Rubino advised to ask for a callback number and to tell the caller you’ll call back before verifying they are who they say they are. If they’re legitimate, they’ll have no problem with this. Agencies are aware of these scams and welcome verification.

“If you're unsure, look up the number, whether it's a bank, the IRS, the FBI, or even your local police department, look up the number yourself and ask if the person works there, number one, and whether or not they did call about whatever it is they asked for,” Rubino said. “And nine out of 10 times, if it's legitimate, they'll have no problem with it. If not, they're going to argue, and that's when you just hang up and call the police.”

Sten Spinella is a Town Hall Reporter for the Longboat Observer. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and his master's degree from the University of Missouri. 

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