According to a press release from the Washington State Patrol (WSP), late in the afternoon of Monday, December 9, 2019, the WSP became aware that a WSP associated phone number is being “spoofed” and fraudulent bomb threats are being made with voicemail instructions to go to a suspicious website in an apparent scam attempt.
Multiple law enforcement agencies across the state have received calls from citizens regarding the 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.
“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 the message delivered.
In this case, 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.
WSP is 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 potentially dangerous activity should always contact local law enforcement by calling 911.