Scam Phone Call Alert

Residents of Montgomery County are receiving scam phone calls again. As a reminder, if you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be a Deputy Sheriff, policeman, a lawyer, bounty hunter, or court personnel saying they have an warrant for your arrest, verify whom you’re speaking with. It is not uncommon for scammers to use the names of real law enforcement officers in an attempt to gain legitimacy. Current callers are telling potential victims they are with the Sheriff’s Office and that the victim has an outstanding warrant for an unpaid debt, missed jury duty, or some minor infraction and that a fine is due. If successful the caller will then convince victims to make the payments by wiring it through Western Union, MoneyGram or buying a prepaid credit card (like Green Dot) and registering it online.

Signs that a caller may be a scammer:
• claims that there is a warrant for your arrest. Police do not call first. If you really are in trouble with the law, you will know it. The police will knock on your door or you will receive a certified piece of mail informing you of any legal action that’s being taken against you. If you do owe a fine, you will not get a 15-minute notice to pay it over the phone.
• is seeking payment on a debt for a loan you do not recognize;
• refuses to give you a mailing address or phone number;
• asks you for personal financial or sensitive information; or
• exerts high pressure to try to scare you into paying, such as threatening to have you arrested or to report you to a law enforcement agency.

What to do:
If you are contacted by someone who is claims there is a warrant for your arrest or is claiming to collect a debt that you do not owe, you should:
• Ask the caller for his name, company, street address, and telephone number of the government entity they are representing. Ask them who the Sheriff is? Hang up and call the represented agency directly.
• Tell the caller that you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written “notice.”
• Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger;
• If you gave out information about your bank accounts or credit cards, contact your bank(s) and credit card companies;
• Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file;
• If you have received a legitimate loan and want to verify that you do not have any outstanding obligation, contact the loan company directly;
• File a complaint at www.IC3.gov.

Paying a fake debt collector will not make them go away. They usually make up another debt to try to get more money from you.

Do not give the caller personal financial or other sensitive information.
Never give out or confirm personal financial or other sensitive information like your:
• name,
• date of birth,
• bank account,
• credit card, or
• Social Security number
unless you know whom you’re dealing with. Scam artists, like fake debt collectors, can use your information to commit identity theft ‘ charging your existing credit cards, opening new credit card, checking, or savings accounts, writing fraudulent checks, or taking out loans in your name.