Police warn residents about two scams

Law enforcement officials are warning people about several new phone scams that try to prey on people’s fears about getting arrested and having no money.

The first scam involves a caller who impersonates law enforcement in an attempt to get money from victims, Sgt. Nick Manale, a State Police spokesman, said Tuesday in a news release.

According to complaints, the callers contact a home or cellphone by using a telephone number that appears to come from the Louisiana State Police or another law enforcement agency, Manale said. The caller then asks for the person by name and tells him there is an arrest warrant out for him or someone in his family, he said.

In order to avoid being arrested or taken to prison, the victim is told to call a provided phone number and make arrangements for payment.

Manale said State Police never ask for payment over the phone or negotiate payment in lieu of an arrest.

A second scam involves bank customers who receive a text that tells them their debit card has been locked, said Cpl. L’Jean Mckneely Jr., a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department.

In order to unlock the card, the person is told he has to call (337) 552-2049, where a computerized voice tells the person that his account has been locked and he needs to enter his 16-digit account number to unlock it, McKneely said.

Giving the account number will give the scam artist access to the account, he said. People shouldn’t respond to the text or give any account information over the phone, McKneely said.

Anyone who receives a suspected scam call is asked to contact the State Police Bureau of Investigations at (225) 925-1739 or the Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Center at (225) 925-6213. To report online, visit lsp.org and click “Suspicious Activity.”