Anchorage police warn of scammers impersonating officers and asking for money

A sign that reads "Anchorage Police Department." There is an office building behind it.
The Anchorage Police Department, photographed in Downtown Anchorage on Thursday, August 10, 2023. (Dev Hardikar/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage police say residents should be wary of scammers impersonating officers. 

Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad said residents have reported getting phone calls from people claiming to be police officers, who then ask for money.

“The underlying theme is always the same, which is: ‘You did something wrong and to fix it, you have to pay me,’” Oistad said. “And the one thing to remember above anything else is that the Anchorage Police Department will never ever, ever call anyone and ask for immediate payment for anything.”

While police scams like this are nothing new, Oistad said they’ve gotten more sophisticated. A new issue is that scammers can access individual officers’ phone numbers, which are public information, and can “spoof” those numbers. That means it could show “Anchorage Police Department” on your caller ID. 

Oistad said if you fall victim to a scammer, you should immediately call the police. 

“We really want to know about it, if you actually fall victim if you lose money, and we hope that nobody does, but it does happen, unfortunately,” Oistad said. “We do get people that get scared, especially our elderly population, unfortunately, and we have had people fall victim and have lost several thousand dollars because of these scams.”

There are also options to report scammers even if you don’t fall for their scheme. Oistad said the Federal Trade Commission keeps track of scam phone calls, and people can file an online report with the FTC to report an attempted scammer. 

“The chances of the Anchorage Police Department finding out where this call came from is pretty slim,” Oistad said. “But the FTC keeps track of that kind of thing.”

Oistad said the most common scams that have been reported involve residents being told that they have warrants out, or that they failed to show up for a subpoena. In both cases, she said, the big reminder is: Anchorage police would never ask for payment over the phone. 

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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