The Washington State Patrol (WSP) say they became aware late Monday afternoon that one of their phone numbers was being “spoofed” and fraudulent bomb threats were being made with voicemail instructions to go to a suspicious website in an apparent scam attempt.
According to a WSP press release today, multiple law enforcement agencies across the state have received calls from citizens who received the voicemail message.
There is no indication that these calls reflect any actual threat but in 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.Washington State Patrol December 10, 2019 press release
“Spoofing” or “number hijacking” occurs when a caller masquerades as someone else by forging the number that appears on caller ID devices according to the WSP. 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 the message delivered.
The 16-second voicemail message (available to play below) instructs the recipient to go to a specific website to ensure their 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.
WSP say they are actively investigating the situation.
There is NO indication that these calls represent credible threats and there are NO credible reports of unusual danger. WSP urges all citizens to be vigilant in protecting both their personal safety and personal information. Anyone who receives a threatening call of any sort or witnesses suspicious or potential dangerous activity should always contact local law enforcement by calling 911.Washington State Patrol December 10, 2019 press release