A wave of phone and internet scams are swarming the city of Killeen and now police are warning residents to stay alert to avoid becoming a victim.

The scammers are finding new and creative ways to scare citizens out of thousands of dollars including posing as Killeen officers. Now, police are asking everyone to be more cautious.

Killeen police say there has been an increase in reports of phone and internet scams sweeping through the city. While the typical IRS scammer calls have been reported, officers said these latest scammers are taking it a step further.

“Basically, they are providing a fake badge number, a name and saying we have a warrant for your arrest,” Tina Amerson with Killeen PD said.

They even spoofed a Killeen Police Department phone number to use in hopes to look more legitimate.

“There are apps on your computer and phones that allow you to put in any phone number you want it to be and that’s how they’re doing it,” Amerson said. “and they have no IP address to track back to.”

The scammers are calling people, asking them to buy gift cards in the amount of $4,000 to $8,000 from stores like Target or Best Buy. They then have the victim supply the card and pin number, before taking the cash.

“No legitimate agency is taking gift cards for payment,” Amerson said.

Police said the best ways to protect yourself includes asking for the caller’s badge number and last name and then calling the police department or agency directly to verify any claims.

Officers said they are working to put an end to this so it will not damage their relationship with the community.

“The fact that someone would call and harass a citizen for a scam and make it look like they’re a Killeen police officer kind of works on our relationship with our community,” Amerson said.

Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Governmental agencies do not solicit money via phone.
  • Governmental agencies and other legitimate agencies should not ask for payment to be made via any sort of gift card.
  • Do not give out personal information over the phone. Scammers will use social engineering tricks to make a victim believe they are only verifying person information when, in reality, the victim is being tricked into giving it up.
  • When in doubt, please contact law enforcement for assistance or a family member prior to making any purchased or payments.