Gresham woman reports phone scam

Police warn people to be wary with personal information

Gresham police are warning residents to not fall victim to a phone scam in which the caller claims to be owed money for a debt.

The victim - a 24-year-old Gresham woman - received messages on her home phone and her work phone at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, in which the caller ordered the woman to call her back or risk being arrested, said Sergeant Wally Coon, Gresham police spokesman.

When she did call back, he threatened to have her arrested and her children taken away if she didn't pay him $600 from a recent pay day loan, plus $5,400 for late payment on the loan.

He demanded payment be made via an electronic fund transfer on his company account.

The victim reported the extortion attempt to police, adding that the man also had her date of birth, complete name and Social Security number. She also said the man spoke with an accent, which sounded vaguely British East Indian, and she heard what sounded like the noise from a call center in the background.

Police called the suspect, who identified himself as Luke Williams, at the 520-216-5764 phone number the victim provided. But 'when we identify ourselves as police, the phone disconnects,' Coon said.

Officers searched online for information associated with the phone number and found other complaints regarding the scam.

Police caution residents to be careful when conducting personal business in situations where someone may be lurking, watching for private information. Although the victim never took out a payday loan, the suspect may have gotten her personal information when she received a car title loan through a local company, Coon said.

Because the only other information police have is a name that's likely to be fake, police have suspended the investigation. Anyone with information on the case, or on similar extortion attempts, is asked to call the Gresham police tipline at 503-618-2719.