Thieves use police phone number in latest lottery scam

BOTHELL, Wash. - Police say phone scammers have a new trick up their sleeves. The calls are coming in looking and sounding like they're from the police department, but they're not.

A man claiming to be Agent Butler with the FBI called Bothell resident Annette Sande and said he was working her case.

"He said there was a winning that you should have gotten, but somebody said you had died and somebody else got the money," Annette Sande says.

Sande says she was skeptical, but the FBI impersonator said he had her $600,000 check, and could ease her mind by having the local police give her a call.

The phone rang again, and "Bothell Police Department" came up on the caller ID with a number that matched the police department's phone number.

A man claiming to be Captain Nielson was on the line, and said the copy of the check was actually for a million dollars. He encouraged her to move forward, which included sending cash to Mexico City.

"I didn't want to write a $100 check, let alone $1,400," Sande says.

The couple decided they wanted to see a copy of the check for themselves, so they visited the Bothell Police Department and asked for Captain Nielsen. Captain Nielsen said he had no idea what they were talking about.

That's when they uncovered a scam with a new twist, with would-be scammers cloning the police department's caller ID.

Police are urging anyone who experiences a similar incident to contact local law enforcement, or just stop by.