Scammers posing as police over the phone on the rise again in Anchorage

Local couple that claims scammer provided court document information and staff names they said ‘checked out’ is one of many getting calls
A couple, who had just brought a newborn baby home, said they were called by someone posing as a police sergeant, demanding money to avoid arrest.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 10:27 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The caller ID reads “Anchorage Police Department,” and the phone number checks out — but it’s not really them.

Instead, it’s someone trying to scam people out of thousands of dollars.

An Anchorage couple who had just had a newborn baby days earlier was almost scammed out of $6,000 by someone who they say was posing as a police sergeant on the phone.

Anchorage police said scams like this are common.

Aaron Bayer’s wife’s phone rang and the person on the other line claimed he was with APD and had a gag order, among other official-sounding terms that the couple said “had checked out.”

“It was very eye-opening as far as them just being able to call with all this information, like real information, but for a nefarious cause,” Aaron Bayer said.

Every piece of information stated on the phone with his wife, by someone posing as a police sergeant, using a court case to try to prove it, was accurate, the couple said.

It all seemed real, Bayer said. The caller targeted his wife saying she had failed to appear in court because of something to do with her job as a medical professional.

“Extremely scary, especially — my wife works in the medical field, and he was threatening her with losing her credentials if she didn’t comply,” Bayer said. “It was very scary, having a newborn baby at home. You can’t just get arrested if you have a newborn baby at home.”

Bayer says his wife went as far as going to the police station to meet the person she says was posing as a sergeant when the scammer asked her to go to an unrelated location instead.

That’s when the couple realized it wasn’t the police on the phone.

The Anchorage Police Department said it would never call anyone to request payment for anything. If someone has questions about the validity of a call that appears to be from police, they can call 311 or 907-786-8900, or go to the police department directly and ask about the matter.

“I would hope that my neighbors — if they had an experience like that — would sound the alarm for the rest of us to be more vigilant and, ‘the more you know,’” Bayer said. “That’s what living in a small community should be about. We shouldn’t be taken advantage of by these people, and it’s not much effort on my end to do this or to make a posting about it.”