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State Police warn of sex offender scam

The Virginia State Police has recently been alerted to an alarming increase in phone scams targeting offenders on the Sex Offender Registry.

According to Sgt. Michelle Anaya, spokeswoman for the State Police, the consistent theme among these scams has been phone fraudsters threatening people into paying large amounts of money in the form of gift cards.

The phone scammers are calling offenders claiming to be a “Virginia State Police Sergeant Johnson, Badge No. 321” from the Isle of Wight/Smithfield Field Office, claiming there is a warrant for their arrest for failure to provide a DNA sample. The phone fraudster claims that the warrant can be removed for a fee of $6,500, Anaya said. The fraudster then provides instructions on how the payment should be submitted, usually in the form of a gift card from a local business and to provide the DNA sample to 30010 Camp Parkway, Courtland, to avoid further prosecution.

The scammers will often manipulate caller identification to make the number appear to come from a nearby police office or local sheriff’s office, Anaya said. The prepaid phones that are being used are prepaid cellular phones or spoofed numbers, making their apprehension difficult.

The Virginia State Police, which oversees the sex offender registry, will never ask for payments to be released from a warrant, Anaya said. Do not give the caller any information and never provide any form of payment.

If you receive such a call, Anaya advises you to hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency or the Virginia State Police at questions@vsp.virginia.gov or 804-674-2467.