With the alarming rate of unscrupulous individuals trying to scam people out of their hard earned money, the Brown County Sheriff has copies of “Identity Theft” information booklets available free to the public.
Sheriff John Merchant they are in the lobby of the Sheriff’s office and are free to anyone wanting to learn more about protecting their information from scammers.
“I encourage everyone to pick one up and review the information,” he said. “Scams, IdentityTheft, Cyber Security, Credit Card Security etc. are addressed as well as providing phone numbers and contact information to BBB, FTC, IRS, Department of Homeland Security etc.”
Sheriff Merchant said he has been made aware of another round of scam calls circulating the county. Another familiar one has cropped up where residents are being contacted by phone and the caller is telling them that their Social Security number has been compromised/ suspended or rendered invalid.
Residents are being told to press 1 to continue with the call. Sheriff Merchant said this is a scam and he am advising anyone who receives this type of call to hang up immediately.
“Also, do not trust your caller ID on your phone,” he said. “Scammers can make any name or number appear on you caller ID. Make sure you know who you are talking to and NEVER give out any personal information over the phone.”
Another scam that has been recently reported is where residents received a phone call telling them that a grandchild has been arrested in a foreign country. The caller identifies themselves as an attorney. Residents have been instructed wire money immediately to ensure that their grandchildren can come back to the United States. Someone posing as the grandchild begs the resident not to tell anyone because it is embarrassing and they would lose their job etc. Sheriff Merchant said scammers are very convincing and have done their homework, so do not be fooled if they have information about family members such as their names, where they work, schools they go to, etc.
“A scammer’s job is to trick you in to believing them, using any means necessary to gain your trust,” he said.
The IRS scam is also circulating. County residents are being notified by phone that there has been an issue with their taxes and they owe money to the IRS immediately. Residents are told that if they do not send money immediately, a warrant will be issued by the county sheriff and they will be arrested. One resident reported that the caller knew where they worked at and said they would be arrested at their place of employment.
“Remember, these scammers try to find out as much information as possible about their victims to be more convincing,” he said. “The caller is very intimidating and threatening. Residents have reported these callers have a very heavy foreign accent. Remember, if you don’t know who you are talking to on the phone, then hang up immediately! The longer you are on the phone with them, the better chance they have to gain pertinent information.
Sheriff Merchant warned to never give out personal information over the phone or internet. If you feel you have been a victim of a scam, notify your local law enforcement at once!!