The Westlake Police Department is alerting residents of the misuse of the department’s telephone number.
The misuse, also known as spoofing, occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies a telephone number and/or name so that phony information is displayed on the call receiver’s Caller ID system, according to Capt. Guy Turner.
Two Westlake residents have reported receiving suspicious calls that appear on Caller ID to originate from the Police Department’s main number – (440) 871-3311, Turner said.
The first incident occurred on Feb. 19, where a female caller, “Mimi,” claimed to be a Westlake police officer looking for the call recipient’s son, who does not live there. “Mimi” then told the recipient she would come to the home in 45 minutes, Turner said. No one showed up.
On Feb. 21, a Westlake man reported he received calls and messages from “David Lane” of Westlake police requiring him to pay money or an arrest warrant would be issued for him. The Caller ID again showed the call as originating from the Police Department, Turner said.
One of the voicemail messages directed the second victim to contact “officer” John Harris at a different number. “David Lane” also called again, this time identifying himself as “Michael Brown,” and told the recipient that the Department of Justice has pending check fraud charges against him, Turner said.
Turner advises residents that no police agency will ever call to demand money or other valuables.
Spoofing is against FCC rules when done with intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
Violations can be reported at http://www.fcc.gov/complaints, and are punishable by up to $10,000 per incident.