If someone calls and claims to be from the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office while demanding money, it’s a scam.
That’s the message local law enforcement is trying to get out, as more city residents report receiving phone calls from scammers. It’s not a new scam, but it’s pervasive, leading officials to continue to spread the word.
The advice from the Sheriff’s Office: just hang up if you get a call like this.
More from the Sheriff’s Office:
The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office wants to alert area residents to ongoing phone scams in which suspects pose as members of law enforcement to coerce victims into giving them money. This type of scam has occurred throughout the region, including Alexandria, and across the country.
Scams have different variations but generally the caller will identify themself as a law enforcement officer and tell the victim, falsely, that a warrant has been issued because they missed a court date, did not show up for jury duty, have an overdue fine or something similar, and they will be arrested unless they pay right away.
Callers often use the names of actual deputies or police officers, and they may disguise their phone number to make it look like they are calling from a local law enforcement agency. This practice of disguising the caller ID is known as “spoofing.” Federal authorities have already reported that scammers will attempt to email a victim fake law enforcement credentials to gain their trust.
Callers intimidate victims by demanding payment and threatening them with arrest if they do not cooperate. They may demand that fines or fees by paid with money, credit cards, gift cards, payment apps, or even cryptocurrency. But no legitimate law enforcement agency in Virginia or in the region will ever call someone and demand money.
“The best way for someone to protect themselves from these scams is simply to hang up,” says Sheriff Sean Casey. “Don’t let your guard down and don’t be intimidated into providing personal details or financial information. Real deputies are not going to call you and threaten you with arrest, so just hang up if you get a call like that.”
Anyone who has been the victim of a scam should notify their financial institution and report it to their local police department. The Alexandria Police Department can be reached at 703-746-4444.
An email from Alexandria City Public Schools went out Saturday morning warning of a “Security Alert!”, but the schools later sent out another alert warning that the first email was a phishing scam.
The follow-up email said the email was the result of a compromised account.
Earlier this morning-on Sat., July 30, 2022 at 8:52 a.m.-you received a message from Alexandria City Public Schools entitled “Security Alert!.” This email message was a result of a compromised account and it was a phishing scam. It is important that you do not open the email, do not click on its links, do not reply to this message and delete it immediately.
Julia Burgos, chief of school and community relations, said the account had been compromised through the email newsletter site Mailchimp shortly after the school system switched over to a new program called ParentSquare.
Burgos said ACPS is “on top of it” and that the phishing email does not represent a major security concern. While there was no mention of the hack on ACPS social media, it was mentioned by an up-and-coming ACPS parody account.
Headline challenge: Write a headline about today's ACPS phishing scam email
— ACPS Express Pitchbot (@ACPSPitchBot) July 30, 2022
An Alexandria woman looking to buy a puppy was scammed by a Facebook contact who blocked her after she made a deposit, according to police.
On September 17, the victim agreed on buying a puppy from a Facebook friend for $300. The victim provided $175 as a deposit via Cash App, but when she went to pick up the puppy at the agreed location the suspect allegedly blocked the buyer on Facebook.
“(The suspect) never responded and (the victim) was not refunded the $175,” police reported in a search warrant.
No arrest has been made.
Over the summer, Alexandria Police also investigated a woman scammed of $15,000 by a Facebook friend.
Alexandria Police are investigating the scamming theft of more than $15,000 from a woman who says she believed she was applying for a Community Services Block Grant.
The victim reported that she was contacted by a Facebook friend on July 24, and was unaware that her friend’s profile was compromised. The supposed friend told the victim that she was eligible for a $100,000 CSBG grant, and then referred her to a grant agent named Thomas Johnson, police said in a search warrant affidavit.
“The agent then required (the victim) to purchase numerous gift cards from Apple and eBay to complete the grant transaction on numerous occasions between July 24, 2021, and August 4, 2021,” police said in a search warrant.
The victim ended up buying $12,900 in Apple gift cards and $2,300 in eBay gift cards, police said.
On August 20, police tweeted about various methods scammers will use.
The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office also recently warned residents about scammers, and victims are encouraged to report incidents to the police at 703-746-4444.
SCAM ALERT! If you get a call from someone saying they work for the Sheriff’s Office and that you have to pay money because of a warrant or any other reason, HANG UP! Real law enforcement agencies in Virginia will never call and demand money. https://t.co/ttDvQGooHN
— Alexandria Sheriff (@AlexVASheriff) August 23, 2021
Officer Celebrates 25 Years with Police Department — “A special time for one of our officers. Officer Bennie Evans officially received his commemorative clock representing 25+ years of service with the Alexandria Police Department. We thank you for all you do.” [Twitter]
Beloved Bishop Ireton Faculty Member Dies — “It is with sadness but also with great faith in our Lord that we share that Brother Rick Wilson, a beloved faculty member at Bishop Ireton for more than three decades, passed away last night on March 3, 2021. He is now at peace with our Lord and has most assuredly opened a Word Write Shop for all the writers in paradise. He loved Bishop Ireton. In his last conversation with Head of School Kathleen McNutt, he reiterated his great love of teaching, his love for Bishop Ireton High School, and his desire to do God’s will. He shared with passion, ‘God put me on this Earth to teach. Bishop Ireton is my home.’ Let us pray for the repose of Brother Rick’s soul; for his family who mourns his loss; and for his beloved Bishop Ireton family who will always remember him. May choirs of angels receive him into everlasting life.” [Facebook]
Sheriff’s Office Warns Against Scam — “ALERT! Scammers are at it again! If you get a phone call from someone saying they are with the Sheriff’s Office and that you have to pay money, HANG UP! Real law enforcement agencies in Virginia will never call you and demand money or credit card info” [Twitter]
Alexandria Libraries Open March 15 — ” Each branch will have limited hours under the third phase of the Library reopening plan. A number of safety measures will be in place to guard against the spread of COVID-19.” [Zebra]
Today’s Weather — “Sunny (during the day). High around 70F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy (in the evening). Low 51F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Assistant Director of Fleet Maintenance — “DASH is looking for an Assistant Director of Fleet Maintenance and Facilities to join our Maintenance team! We strongly encourage anyone interested to apply: bit.ly/3kZOtQe.” [Twitter]
New Job: Fitness Instructor — “New Coaches Start with Guaranteed Hours. Free Protein Bars, Energy Drinks, and Coffee. Free Open Gym and Fitness Classes. Flexible hours (work as many hours as you like)” [Indeed]
The Alexandria Health Department is warning residents of COVID-19 vaccine scams.
“A call that requests financial information or suggests it is your last chance to get vaccinated is likely a scam,” AHD reported. “Residents who feel they have been a victim of fraud are encouraged to report it.”
AHD said that it will never ask for social security numbers, financial details or immigration status.
“A vaccine appointment cannot be purchased; there are no out-of-pocket expenses for a vaccine; and doses cannot be purchased for shipment,” AHD said.
Anyone who feels receives a call and feels uncomfortable can hang up and then call the city’s COVID-19 hotline at 703-746-4988 or 703-746-4985.
According to AHD:
“Alexandria is currently vaccinating residents in Phase 1a and 1b and will contact everyone who has pre-registered when appointments become available. Residents can learn more about vaccines on the City’s ” Vaccines are Here” webpage or the Virginia Department of Health’s Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions page.”
Judith Jones, Founder of At Home in Alexandria, Dies — “Jones was one of the three founders of At Home in Alexandria, a nonprofit that supports older adults. A former Alexandria resident, Jones was beloved by her family and friends and well-respected by her colleagues and students. A scientist and businesswoman, she served as a mentor to many.” [Alex Times]
Beyer Says Trump Incites Violence — “The country wants justice. The people want peace, reform, progress. They reject violence. Trump wants division. He celebrates brutality. He incites violence. Above all, Trump does not want to talk about his failure to keep Americans safe amid a pandemic that has killed 182,000.” [Twitter]
Police Warn of Phone Scam — “APD is aware of a telephone scam targeting people who are asked to provide money to remove criminal charges. If you are the victim of this scam and have been defrauded of money, please report by calling 703.746.4444 or by contacting the law enforcement agency where you live.” [Twitter]
Alexandria Heroes Honored at Valor Awards — “Sergeant Michael Vaccaro was awarded a Bronze Medal for placing himself at risk of death by going between citizens and a gunman who opened fire in Old Town in 2018. After defusing the threat, he performed life saving measures at the scene.” [Alexandria Living]
Blood Drive at Market Square on Thursday — “To help INOVA hospitals and their other facilities, INOVA Blood Donor Services will hold a blood drive at Market Square on Thursday, September 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [Zebra]
Today’s Weather — During the day, “Rain likely. High 76F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch.” At night, “Rain likely. Low 69F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Micro School Teacher — “SchoolHouse is a new, innovative education startup that helps families to form Learning Pods, and matches excellent teachers with those Pods. ” [Indeed]
Arlandria Champion Kevin Beekman Passes Away — “It is with great sorrow that we announce that Kevin Beekman, an Arlandria hero and force behind the Four Mile Run Conservancy and Farmer’s Market, lost his battle with amyloidosis on August 24. Kevin was part of the fabric of Arlandria.” [Zebra]
Beyer Says Republican National Convention is Corrupt — “The White House is not the property of Donald Trump or the Republican Party, it belongs to the American people. These actions cheapen the office and degrade the nation. This convention, like the person at its core, is fundamentally corrupt.” [Twitter]
Coronavirus Cases Reach 3,333 in Alexandria — “Positive tests up 9 to 3,333 in the City 7-day Positivity Rate up to 5.9%. One new hospitalization.” [Twitter]
Live Outdoor Concert Tonight Honoring Anniversary of March on Washington — “A program of vibrant, meaningful and historic music, presented by prominent Washington Artists on the anniversary weekend of the March on Washington.” [Visit Alexandria]
ALIVE! Warns of Scam Calls — “Periodically ALIVE! seems to be the target of scammers. Please know that ALIVE! staff and leaders will never ask you to purchase gift certificates in specific amounts or at specific places, or make unusual personal requests. Please contact us directly if in doubt of any request.” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — During the day, “More clouds than sun. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High around 90F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” At night, “Scattered thunderstorms during the evening, then cloudy skies overnight. Low around 75F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Tour Guide — “We specialize in performing haunted pub tours. Think ghost tour combined with Pub Crawl and there you have it.” [Indeed]
Survey Shows Discontent Among APD Officers — “A survey that the Times acquired from a former Alexandria Police Department officer revealed that several APD officers are unhappy with Police Chief Michael Brown and the culture of the department.” [AlexTimes]
Nearly 1K Families Supported in ALIVE! Food Distribution — “929 households were served at today’s ALIVE! Food Distribution! Thanks to all those from @Volalex, @AlexVASheriff, @AlexandriaVATES who helped in the hot weather today to supply groceries,(meat,eggs,produce and more) masks and hand sanitizer to people in need.” [Twitter]
Police Warn of Phone Scam — “If you receive a call, the individual says that there are warrants for your arrest. Next, instructions are given on how to pay a large sum of money. Then your call is forwarded to another person who explains a ‘surety voucher.'” [Zebra]
New Fire Station Construction is Coming Along — “The @AlexandriaVAFD Station 203 is coming along on the corner of Cameron Mills & Monticello….getting ready for its close-up! [Twitter]
Today’s Weather — It will be mostly sunny throughout the day, with a high temperature of 97 degrees. [Weather.com]
New Job: Freelance Photographer/Videographer — “We need someone with a strong work ethic who can go to job sites pre remodeling, during work, and at completion to take photographs and a short video clip for uploading to youtube.” [Indeed]
Longtime Bishop Ireton Teacher Dies — “It is with sadness but also with great faith in our Lord that we share that Mr. Ron Umbeck, a beloved faculty member at Bishop Ireton for more than 50 years, passed away earlier this evening. He is now at peace in Heaven and we are sure that he met St. Peter with a math book, a crossword puzzle, an It’s Academic prep sheet and a Bishop Ireton pin. He loved this school, but more importantly, he loved his students and his Bishop Ireton family.” [Facebook]
Mayor Talks About Coronavirus on PBS — “My thanks to @AlexandriaVAGov Mayor @justindotnet for spending time with us to talk #Virginia re-opening, concerns about virus spread, and how he’s balancing the two. Our report, produced by @courtneyknorris, on @NewsHour tonight…” [Twitter]
NVTA Provides $195 Million to Duke Street, Richmond Highway Projects — “Two major roadway projects in the Alexandria region received funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The Duke Street Transitway received $75 million, which completes its funding request.” [Alexandria Living]
Fairlington United Methodist Church Warns of Scammers — “Scammers are out in full this summer. Please either a) ignore emails like this or b) report it to your email provider. This is not Janine’s email address, nor does she sign her emails Rev Janine Howard (nor does she break all sorts of grammar rules…) [Facebook]
Photographer Helps Unemployed Residents With Headshots — “Alexandria photographer Sam Fatima wants to do his part to help turn things around. He has partnered with Headshot Booker and Brookfield Properties for a new initiative aimed at helping the unemployed have a fresh start.” [Zebra]
Virtual Pub Craw Starts Wednesday — “In 2020 the 7th Annual Port City Old Town Pub Crawl is going virtual! Throughout July join Port City and our friends in Old Town as we celebrate good food and beer all month long.” [Facebook]
DASH Installing Digital Displays — “We’re busy installing new digital displays that show bus arrival info and alerts. We’ve installed more than 30 so far.” [Facebook]
New Job: Server — “Chadwicks Restaurant is currently looking to fill FULL- and PART-TIME server positions. Must be honest, hardworking, and capable of working well with others. Experience not a priority.” [Indeed]