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Scammers pose as Columbus police, claim victims owe back taxes

COLUMBUS, Ind. – The Columbus Police Department is warning the public about a phone scam that cost two residents $6,000.

Those victims say they received a call from a person claiming to be from the police department.

The caller went on to threaten the victims with arrest if they didn’t pay a fine in regards to alleged back taxes that they owed. The suspect reportedly instructed the victims to purchase gift and phone cards to make payments.

The victims told officers that the phone call originated from (812) 376-2600, which is the number for the Columbus Police Department help desk. Detectives say it appears the scammers are using a cell phone masking application to make it appear that they are calling from the police department.

The police department wants to make it clear that it does not solicit payments for warrants over the telephone.

“Please do not make payments for warrants or back taxes in the form of gift cards, phone cards, or wire money after receiving an unsolicited phone call,” said the police department. “If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any phone call or document, please contact law enforcement directly.”