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By Jana Hill
Mill Creek Beacon Editor 

DEA, state patrol impersonated in call

Scammers dupe Mill Creek resident out of $5,500


Last updated 2/11/2021 at 2:32pm

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A criminal impersonation case in Mill Creek started with callers claiming they were law enforcement and ended with a citizen duped out of $5,500.

Mill Creek Police have a recent warning, that residents need to beware of scammers.

Officers took a report of first-degree criminal Impersonation that impacted a resident in the 1500 block of 148th Block S.E. in late January.

In the incident, several unknown individuals contacted the victim via phone claiming to be a task force of law enforcement officers, including the DEA and Washington State Patrol, said Police Corporal Public Information Officer Ian Durkee.

The scammers said they had an arrest warrant for the victim, he said.

The callers were able to convince the individual to buy approximately $5,500 dollars in gift cards and give the suspects codes, located on the back of the gift cards, Durkee said.

"At one location the victim went to, the store caught on that there might be a scam at play and even warned the victim," Durkee said. "The victim later realized that the whole thing had been a scam."

No leads were available when the police were last contacted.

"Unfortunately, these phone scams are pretty safe for criminals to pull off if the victim doesn't realize what's happening," Durkee said.

Scammers have common methods, according to the Federal Trade Commission:

• They pretend to be from a recognizable organization, such as the utility company, a tech company, the IRS, or Medicare.

• They create urgency by saying there is a problem or a prize: that the victim owes money, is in trouble with the IRS or the law, or there's a computer virus to protect against.

• Urgency is applied, pressuring the victim to act immediately: to pay for something or take some action.

Some scammers are able to email from a legitimate email-address that appears to be from a known business or a known contact, or hijack local phone numbers to trick callers into picking up.

The FTC says to never give out personal information in response to a request via phone or email and to talk to trusted people who can help clarify that it is a scam. They advise citizens to remember that legitimate organizations are unlikely to rush a decision, and will welcome an independent contact from you.

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