ITHACA, N.Y.—The Ithaca Police announced Thursday that someone impersonating police officers has been calling local residents to scam them out of money.
Sgt. Justin Baldessare wrote that reports have stated an unknown individual is calling people using the Ithaca Police Department’s phone number. The caller then threatens the call recipient with arrest if they don’t give the caller money.
Police did not say if any of the scams have been successful yet.
“The Ithaca Police Department will never call anyone and ask them to send any amount of money to the police department under threat of arrest,” Baldessare wrote. “If something seems suspicious, please hang up and contact the Ithaca Police Department via the methods listed below in order to verify and report the incident.”
The listed contact methods are as follows:
Police Dispatch: 607-272-3245
Police Administration: 607-272-9973
Police Tipline: 607-330-0000
Anonymous Email Tip Address: www.cityofithaca.org/ipdtips
It appears to be scamming season, as the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office also published a warning about an ongoing check scam that could impact local residents.
Sheriff Derek Osborne said “Checks are being stolen from local residential mailboxes, most specifically ones [with] their red flags up indicating to the post office that there is outgoing mail to be collected.”
The checks, Osborne said, can either simply have numbers and recipients changed with small edits, or they are then “washed” using a store-bought chemical that removes ink. The signature is retained but the checks are then rewritten for different amounts and names and then cashed.
Osborne advised people can avoid these scams by either purchasing a fraud prevention pen and using those to write checks (a pack of 12 is about $20) or to manually deliver the check to the post office.