Polk sheriff’s office warns of scam using local numbers

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

COLUMBUS – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public of a scam involving phone calls from what appear to be local phone numbers.

Capt. B.J. Bayne said the sheriff’s office has received several calls in reference to phone scams over the past couple of weeks.

“A number of our citizens have reported receiving calls from what appeared to be local phone numbers on caller ID,” Bayne said. “When the numbers are called back, they find that the person the number belongs to never called.”

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Bayne said what is actually happening is called “spoofing.”

The persons calling are able to hide their actual phone number and replace it with a local number in the area they are calling.

The sheriff’s office said in the event residents do return these calls, keep in mind the person whose number is being spoofed is being harassed in the same manner as the person who received the call.

“The scammers are trying to increase the number of people they actually make contact with,” Bayne said. “The Polk County Sheriff’s Office would like citizens to stay vigilant when dealing with scammers. Please do not give out information concerning bank information or personal identification to callers.”

In the event a resident feels the need to send money or wire money to anyone, the sheriff’s office asks that the resident take the time to verify the receiver to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

The sheriff’s office encourages residents to share with neighbors and friends the types of calls they are receiving involving scams.

“Reporting new scams in the area is essential in fighting these types of crimes,” Bayne said.

The following are types of scams being reported at this time.

• “Ransom ware” – opening an email that encrypts your files, unless you pay to have it removed.
• “Tax scams” – calls stating that the IRS is filing law suit against you.
• “Car warranty expired” – calls telling you that your warranty has expired and you need to purchase extended warranty.
• “Lottery scams” – email or ca lls reporting you have won a prize and need to pay fee to collect prize.
• “Fake checks” – sellers are receiving fake checks and discovering after cashing that the checks were fake.

Anyone who has been victim of a scam is encouraged to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 828-894-3001 or go online to the consumer reporting website at consumerfraudreporting.org/reporting.php.