Authorities in Berkeley put out a warning Wednesday afternoon about scammers claiming to be police officers who are calling community members to demand money.

The Berkeley Police Department said, in a public alert, that the callers have found a way to make it appear their number originated at BPD. That’s not the case.

“The Berkeley Police Department is not making these phone calls,” BPD said. “They are part of a scam.”

The BPD dispatch center got more than a dozen calls about the scam from community members Tuesday: “A person or persons with a heavily accented voice called claiming to be Berkeley Police Officers (from what appeared to be a Berkeley Police phone number) and threatened to arrest them if they did not pay,” police said.

Authorities said “caller ID spoofing” allowed the crooks to make their phone number appear legitimate.

Police reminded the community Wednesday not to give out any personal or financial information over the telephone.

Anyone who receives a call from an officer can ask for a call-back number, then call the dispatch center at 510-981-5900 to verify the officer’s identity, authorities said

Police also ask anyone who received one of the calls, or does so in the future, to call the dispatch center to make a report.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...