PCSO warns of scam

Published 6:21 pm Friday, March 18, 2022

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Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said he wanted to warn people that criminals are currently impersonating law enforcement officers in telephone scams.

Thomas said the PCSO wanted the public to know that scammers are acting as law enforcement officers and government officials in an  attempt to extort money or steal people’s personal identification information.

Thomas said the scam is currently ongoing. Thomas said scammers will often spoof authentic phone numbers and names and use fake credentials of well-known government and law enforcement agen-cies. Scammers will use an urgent and aggressive tone, refusing to speak to or leave a message with anyone other than their targeted victim; and will urge victims not to tell anyone else, including family, friends, or financial institutions, about what is occurring, he said.

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Payment is demanded in various forms, with the most prevalent being prepaid cards, wire transfers, and cash, sent by mail or inserted into cryptocurrency ATMs. Victims are asked to read prepaid card numbers over the phone or text a picture of the card. Mailed cash will be hidden or packaged to avoid detection by normal mail scanning devices. Wire transfers are often sent overseas so funds almost immediately vanish.

Thomas said a little bit of knowledge will go a long way in helping people protect themselves from scammers.

“Remember, no legitimate law enforcement or government official will request payment via prepaid cards or cryptocurrency ATM,” Thomas said. “Never give personally identifying information to anyone without verifying the person is who they say they are.”

Thomas said law enforcement authorities or government officials will never contact members of the public or medical practitioners by telephone to demand any form of payment, or to request personal or sensitive information. He said any legitimate investigation or legal action will be done in person or by official letter.