If you get a voicemail from a “state police” phone number that mentions a bomb threat, don’t be fooled. It’s a scam.
Calls have been coming from a phone number with a 425 area code that may appear on your phone as the “State Police and Highway Patrol,” according to the actual Washington State Patrol.
The scammers leave a 16-second voice message warning of “bomb threats” in the area and directing the recipient to log into a website for their safety.
There’s no credible bomb threat, the website is malicious, and anyone who receives the message should ignore its exhortations and report it to 911, the State Patrol says.
The calls appear to come from a legitimate number because the scammers have used a trick called “spoofing” or “number hijacking” to forge what appears on caller-ID devices. It’s a common tactic to dupe victims into believing a call or message has come from a trusted entity and should be heeded.
“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,” the State Patrol said in a statement Tuesday.
The State Patrol opened an investigation into the phony phone calls on Monday after learning they had been reported to law-enforcement agencies across the state.
“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 State Patrol said.
The scam calls are unrelated to a telephoned bomb threat reported Monday at the state capitol in Olympia, said State Patrol spokesman Chris Loftis.