The Daily Evergreen

Phone scams hit Pullman, police say

Most police departments have no way of fending off fraudulent callers

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

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Fraudulent callers have demanded money from multiple Pullman residents in the last week, according to police reports.

The callers, posing as Department of Education representatives, threatened to arrest Pullmanites, said Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant.

“We had about six different people call the police department in fairly rapid succession saying they got off the phone with what sounded like a young, college-aged, foreign person saying they had a long-standing infraction with the Department of Education and if they didn’t pay it they would be arrested,” he said.

Tennant said the callers are using the department’s phone number as their caller identification tag.

Pullman Police posted on social media, warning people about the calls. Tennant said they currently have no leads, but doubted the callers were local.

“I would be surprised if they are in the continental United States,” he said.

The calls can differ but usually have a lot of details in common: the calls are unannounced, sound official and “scary,” and demand money immediately. Tennant said that government calls don’t usually ask for money, and any callers demanding money claiming to be from a government agency or even utility companies like Avista are likely scams.

However, most police departments do not have the technology to combat these calls, and most people should not waste their time and hang up immediately. Callers should use their judgement and try to be aware of any ongoing scams, as they are becoming more common.

“Three years ago I would say it is rare,” Tennant said. “But it is more and more common for some kind of scam to be going. I think I get more scam calls than normal calls at home.”

About the Writer
IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Ian Smay is a senior journalism & media production major, with an emphasis in broadcast news, from Dayton, Washington. He is also minoring in criminal justice, and served as the crime & courts beat reporter from Aug. 2017 – May 2018. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Phone scams hit Pullman, police say