State Patrol advises public of “spoofed” phone calls

Call falsely alleges a bomb threat and advises recipient to go to suspicious website

Late Monday afternoon, the Washington State Patrol became aware that a WSP-associated phone number was being “spoofed” and fraudulent bomb threats are being made with voicemail instructions on how to go to a suspicious website in an apparent scam attempt.

According to a WSP news release, multiple law enforcement agencies across the state have received calls from citizens about the message.

“There is no indication that these calls reflect any actual threat, but out of an abundance of caution, WSP advises anyone who receives a threatening call of any sort to contact law enforcement by calling 911. Report the threat and any caller ID information,” the WSP news release stated.

“Spoofing” or “number hijacking” occurs when a caller masquerades as someone else by forging the number that appears on caller ID devices. The target of the illegal procedure might respond to the call or give it undue credibility because of the trusted name or number displayed or message delivered, the release stated.

“In this instance, the 16-second voicemail instructs the recipient to go to a specific website to ensure personal safety. Law enforcement and consumer protection advocates advise anyone who receives suspicious and unscheduled communications either by phone, text or email to avoid logging on to suggested websites, calling unknown numbers or providing personal information at the prompting of strangers. The tone, substance and fraudulent use of a WSP number as its apparent origin on this call is designed to confuse or frighten the unsuspecting and vulnerable,” the law-enforcement agency stated.

WSP said it is actively investigating the situation.