Everett officer Curtis Bafus answers an elderly woman’s phone. (Screen shot from @dawid.outdoor’s TikTok video)

Everett officer Curtis Bafus answers an elderly woman’s phone. (Screen shot from @dawid.outdoor’s TikTok video)

Everett officer catches phone scammer in the act, goes viral on TikTok

Everett Police Chief John DeRousse said it was unclear when the video with 1.5 million views was taken, saying it could be “years old.”

EVERETT — In a viral video posted this week, Everett officer Curtis Bafus answered an elderly woman’s phone. She had reportedly been getting calls from an unknown number.

“What do you need from her?” Bafus asked the man on the other end of the line.

“Why do I have to tell you this? I don’t know who you are,” the caller responded.

“Because I’m a police officer, with the city of Everett,” the officer said.

A taxi driver had driven the woman to the police department, alleging the man on the phone was trying to scam her out of $27,000. The caller repeatedly demanded the officer put him in touch with then-Deputy Chief John DeRousse.

“No, that’s not how it works,” the officer responded. “You’re not just going to be able to talk to my deputy chief.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had 1.5 million views on TikTok.

@dawid.outdoor Police and a taxi save a woman from sending 27k$ cash through a Walmart scam #fyp #policeofficer #walmart #scam ♬ original sound – CrazyWorld 🌎

DeRousse, now the police chief, said it was unclear when the video was taken, noting it could be “years old.” It’s unclear why the TikTok was posted now, and The Daily Herald’s effort to reach the poster, @dawid.outdoor, got no response.

“We see pranks of all kinds, scams of all kinds,” DeRousse said Wednesday. “Sometimes people believe it, sometimes they prey on the elderly.”

In the 2½-minute video, the officer is seen talking with the unknown caller on speakerphone. The caller appeared to be impersonating law enforcement, accusing the woman of being a “prime suspect.”

“A prime suspect in what?” Bafus asked.

“Yes, she’s a prime suspect for the crime,” the caller responded.

“The crime? What does that mean?” the officer asked again.

“OK, I want to talk to your officers,” the caller said.

“You’re speaking to an officer,” Bafus responded.

He demanded again to speak to the deputy chief.

“I don’t know you, sir. Why do I have to give you information?” the caller asked the officer.

“And this lady doesn’t know you either,” Bafus responded. “And she doesn’t need to give you her information. So that’s where were at with things. Please stop calling this number.”

“Not a problem sir, not a problem,” the caller said before the video ended.

DeRousse could not recall if any arrests were made in this case.

The video also went viral on the reddit community /r/PublicFreakout, where one of the top comments read: “I like to (rag) on taxi drivers and police officers as much as the next person… but my gosh they did well here. They both deserve a medal or a hug or just something.”

Bethany5150 replied: “Like a one time cash reward of $27,000?”

Don’t get scammed

Here some tips to protect yourself from scams, as paraphrased from the U.S. Marshals Service:

• Police will never ask for credit card, debit card or gift card numbers. Nor will they ask for wire transfers, bank routing numbers, or to make bitcoin deposits, for any purpose.

• NEVER divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.

• Report suspected scam phone calls to local FBI offices, the Federal Trade Commission or your police department. You can be anonymous when you report.

• You can authenticate calls claiming to be from police by hanging up and calling the department directly.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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