COLUMBUS, Ohio — Getting a call from the police can be scary, especially if they claim someone’s in trouble. But what if it’s a scam?
One weekend, Dave Limon and his wife received a call they’ll never forget. It was about their daughter, Skylar Limon, who is a freshman softball player at The Ohio State University.
“The person on the other line said that he was an officer for OSUPD, which was Ohio State PD, and that our daughter had been detained coming out of a club called XO,” said Dave.
They couldn’t believe what they had just heard. Dave began to worry. The person demanded a $2,000 payment for Skylar’s bail.
“They just went on to proceed saying that she is going to be processed if we don’t pay her bail,” he said. “She would be turned over to the Columbus PD to be processed that way.”
Dave asked to talk to his daughter, but was given an excuse every time. Something just didn’t seem right.
“We started feeling like it was a scam right around the time that we started asking to talk to her,” he said. “And I looked at my wife, and said, 'she’s got a game at 9:00. There’s no way she’s going out.' She’s not that kind of kid anyways.”
After several attempts, Dave was finally able to get ahold of Skylar, confirming it was a scam. Days later, Skylar’s coach shared that several other athletes' families received the same call.
OSUPD Lt. Bruce Allen said they’ve recently seen an uptick in spoofing, which are calls where scammers change their caller ID.
"We would never call or cold call someone and ask them for cash or for a gift card,” said Allen. “Any exchange of money would be much more formal than that and usually through a court system."
Allen said it’s important to reach out immediately to your local law enforcement if you receive a call like that.
“If someone does unfortunately fall victim to this scam they should report it because that helps us track and we can investigate them further,” he said. “It helps if we have aggregate data to look into these things.”
Moving forward, Limon said he and his family will be more cautious and have a plan in place to prevent this situation from happening again.
“Always have the number to the OSU Police Department so you can call them directly and find out if it’s true,” said Limon. “And we also have how we can track as a family to see where she’s at and what’s going on.”