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Sheriff Warns Of Phone Scams

August 25th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Local law enforcement has received complaints about possible phone scams where the caller represents themselves as a government entity.  The caller then accuses the person who answered of owing the government money.   The caller then states that in order to avoid prosecution the person is to send money to settle the debt. 

This scam is similar to others that are encountered such as when callers ask you to pay taxes in order to receive a prize, or callers claiming to be a police department holding a family member and demanding bail money.   Further, another advancement for the criminals is that technology now allows the criminals to use unregistered cell phones and manipulate how caller IDs read making their contacts seem even more official and harder to trace.   

Some signs of a telephone scam include:

·         Out of area or foreign phone numbers

·         Callers are non-professional or overly assertive

·         Callers will usually not know details of the transaction they are questioning you about

·         Callers may not know details about your identity, even your name

·         Callers will not provide their identity, office information, or supervisor

·         Caller is making reference to a situation you know nothing about

·         The deal is too good to be true

Most government agencies do official communications via U.S. Mail; however, if a person calls you from an official government agency they are often professional and will readily provide you with contact information to verify their identity.   Official callers will also not ask for personal information or account numbers over the phone.   If you receive a phone call you think is suspicious, hang up, and do not talk to the caller.    If you do begin a conversation, do not release any personal information, credit card or bank information.  Never send any money without confirming the transaction is legitimate.  Report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.

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