CANANDAIGUA — City police are warning the public about a recent phone scam involving a caller claiming to be the police chief.
Canandaigua PD Chief Matthew Nielsen said his department was told of the scam by state police. It was reported to that agency by a town of Canandaigua resident.
The resident got a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security office, saying the resident’s Social Security number was connected to criminal activity. Several minutes later, the resident got a call from (585) 394-3311 — the Canandaigua PD number — and spoke with a male with a thick accent.
The man claimed to be the police chief, demanding a substantial payment by gift cards and bitcoin. The caller threatened arrest if the resident did not comply.
Nielsen said the Canandaigua PD does not solicit or demand payments in lieu of arrest. He reminds people to never give out personal information over the phone, unless the source has been independently verified.
“Do not trust information being provided by the caller,” he said. “Also be aware that phone numbers appearing on caller ID can be easily manipulated.”
Nielsen said people who get a suspicious call should immediately hang up and call 911.
“The callers will usually employ high-pressure tactics to keep the victim on the phone, but don’t be duped into this tactic,” he said. “Just hang up. The 911 dispatcher can easily verify if you are legitimately being called by a police agency and legitimate officers will understand your suspicion on this type of call.”