When you’re pulled over by a Highway Patrol officer, you don’t expect to be on the wrong end of a shakedown by a fake cop. Yet sources indicate that this happens nearly every other week in the U.S. Fraudulent cops are out there with fake badges, officious-looking vehicles and other police paraphernalia. They may try to stop you on the road, or even gain entrance to your home. To ensure that you are as protected as possible, here’s how to deal with fake police.
How to deal with fake police No. 1 – Recognizing the ride
First of all, you’ll need to pay attention to the vehicle the allegedly fraudulent Highway Patrol is driving. In the U.S., that typically means one of the following vehicles: Ford Crown Victoria sedan; Chevy Impala, Malibu or Lumina sedans; unmarked Camaro Z28s; Chevy Tahoe SUV; or Dodge Charger.
Unfortunately, consumers have the ability to buy these vehicles, as well as decommissioned former police vehicles. Even a non-police model can be dressed up to look like an official vehicle. Police supply stores exist that can fuel the fantasies of fraudulent cops everywhere. This goes all the way down to uniforms and fake IDs.
How to deal with fake police No. 2 – Recognizing the situation
When you see the lights of an alleged Highway Patrol car in your rear view mirror, start thinking. Have you done anything that could cause you to be pulled over? If you’re female, driving by yourself in the middle of nowhere, haven’t broken any laws, know your vehicle is in good shape and are certain you’ve been driving within 5 mph of the posted speed limit, be careful.
Try to pull over only in a well-lit, public place where other people are around, such as a shopping mall. If this isn’t possible, pull over and keep your doors locked and window cracked just enough to hear and pass your driver’s license and other documents. Particularly if the supposed Highway Patrol officer is not in uniform, ask to see his or her credentials. If the officer refuses, ask him to call another officer to the scene – you are within your legal right to do so. It may irritate the officer, but that’s a small price to pay if it saves your life. A legitimate officer will make the call.
How to deal with fake police No. 3 – Have an escape plan
If the officer balks at your request for ID and back-up, then resorts to unprofessional threats or violent behavior, be ready to make a quick escape. Tell the officer you’re uncomfortable with the situation and will follow him to the nearest police station. If he continues to object – and you have a cell phone – call 911 immediately. Tell the operator what’s happening and ask them to confirm whether the officer is legitimate. Stay on the line and most likely, one of three things will happen: he’ll wait until his identity is confirmed, he’ll flee the scene or attempt to get at you.
If it’s the latter, lay rubber and get out of there fast for a safe public location, being sure to give the 911 operator as much info on the fake officer so that he can be tracked down.
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