At first glance, it seems a bit scary, but on second thought - really, really stupid.

KGW-TV in Portland reports a new scam is making the rounds in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.

It starts with an incoming call from 9-1-1. It looks like the emergency dispatch is calling the victim, so obviously this has gotten a lot of attention.  The caller then informs the victim they have to wire money, or the District Attorney will put them in jail.

KGW reports numerous residents in the area, and Pacific Northwest, have received the calls.  9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch officials say they would NEVER call someone for any reason, unless it were a life-or-death unusual emergency.

KGW did some searching online and has found dozens of what are called call-spoofing apps that can be downloaded.  These apps disguise or allow the caller to use a different number than their own to show up as an incoming call.  These are often used by scammers to make callers think the victim is being contacted by 9-1-1, the Washington State Patrol, even local law enforcement.

Victims are urged to try to get as much information from the caller as possible, then report it via non-emergency police numbers.  Calling 911 back to verify if they called you takes up a line that could be needed for an emergency.

And before you think you're going to play jokes on anyone by using a call-spoofing app, it's against FEDERAL Law and can result in jail time and a $10,000 fine!


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