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.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commerical vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Cascade’s Mia Walker, right, cries and hugs teammate Allison Gehrig after beating Gig Harbor on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors Wilson, Tripp power Cascade softball past Gig Harbor

The pair combined for three homers as the Bruins won the Class 3A state softball opening-round game.

The original Mountlake Terrace City Council, Patricia Neibel bottom right, with city attorney, sign incorporation ordinance in 1954. (Photo provided by the City of Mountlake Terrace)
Patricia Neibel, last inaugural MLT council member, dies at 97

The first woman on the council lived by the motto, “Why not me?” — on the council, at a sheriff’s office in Florida, or at a leper colony in Thailand.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.