Sheriff's Office

Posted on: February 17, 2016

Alert for Phone Scams

Several Frederick County residents recently reported that they have received scam phone calls. Both the “grandparent” phone scam and the “IRS” phone scams have been reported.

In the “grandparent” scam, the caller claims to be a family member who has been arrested, in some instances in a foreign country, and indicates they need money to pay attorney fees. The caller directs the victim to purchase high dollar reloadable debit cards that are then transferred over the phone to other types of accounts and credit cards. This has been dubbed the “grandparent” scam because criminals often use this scam to target elderly adults by taking advantage of their love and concern for their grandchildren.

The IRS phone scams involve the caller claiming to work for the Internal Revenue Service. The caller claims that the victim owes money due to a mistake on a past tax return, which was discovered during a recent audit. The caller offers to help the victim avoid court or jail time by telling them how to go to a store to get an electronic voucher or cashier’s check. The caller uses legal terminology and claims that the call is recorded, to make the call sound legitimate.

According to the Federal Trade Commission website, the IRS makes contact about unpaid taxes by mail, not phone. Scammers may have rigged caller ID or email to make the contact look legitimate. Complaints can be filed on the Federal Trade Commission Website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts, and look for “report it” at the bottom of the page.

The Sheriff’s Office is reminding citizens to be on the alert for telemarketing scams. Additionally, never provide anyone with personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers or Social Security numbers over the phone. Never wire money to a person you don’t know. For additional tips about how to protect yourself from some of the most common telemarketing schemes visit http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud. Additional information can be found at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.

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