The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says scam calls are being made to Western Washington residents regarding criminal cases and demanding money be transferred immediately.
These calls are a scam and they are targeting people who have no involvement in a crime, according to a Dec. 29 email from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The office is not calling demanding money from people involved in prostitution cases or any type of cases.
“Our office has never done that, and will not,” according to an email statement.
If you are charged with a crime, the way you will find out is through a formal summons or a warrant. Both must be handled in person.
Here’s the outline of one of the previous scam calls:
• The caller identifies themself as King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and says the call recipient is being prosecuted for contacting someone underage.
• The number being faked is 206-477-1200.
• The call recipient is told to send a MoneyGram for $890 in order for the charges to be dropped. Do not wire money to this person. The prosecutor’s office will never call and demand money in exchange for charges being dropped.
Similar scams happened back in July and mid-August.
If you receive what you believe to be a bogus call from someone pretending to be from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, here are steps you can take. This information comes from the office’s Economic Crimes Unit, which handles felony fraud cases such as this.
• Don’t panic. This threat is not legitimate. Even if you take no action you will not be charged with a crime.
• Write down any information you can gather about the call. This may include the time you received it, what number showed on your called ID and any statements made by the fraudulent caller. While a recording of the conversation may be helpful to law enforcement, in Washington it is illegal to record someone without first telling them the conversation will be recorded. So, if you decide to record the call, give them notice, turn on the recorder, and then repeat your notice.
• Contact your local law enforcement to report the attempted fraud. The non-emergency number for the Seattle Police Department, for example, is 206-625-5011 and you also can make a report online. Save the documentation regarding the report after you’ve filed it.
• If the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has actually charged you with a crime, separate from these scam calls, notify your attorney.
If you have questions or want to verify that a communication you received actually came from the prosecutor’s office, the phone number for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is 206-477-1200 and its email is Prosecuting.Attorney@kingcounty.gov.