From STAFF REPORTS
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to residents about scam callers who are pretending to be officers.
A resident recently contacted the sheriff’s office to report a call that showed up on caller ID as “Franklin County Westlake Police Station” with a phone number of 540-719-9111. The resident was told that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest and needed to post bond or risk being arrested, Capt. Philip Young said in a news release.
The resident provided the caller with his Social Security number and birth date.
“It is important to know that the sheriff’s office will not call you and ask for you to give personally identifying information over the phone,” Young said. “Never give out information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates or banking account numbers over the phone, especially if the person wanting the information called you.”
Young encouraged residents to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and speak with a deputy before sending money or providing personal information.
The Federal Trade Commission recommended taking the following steps to avoid becoming a victim of a scam:
Scammers often pretend to be someone who can be trusted. Don’t send money or give personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an email.
Do online searches.
Check a company or product name on the internet along with words such as “review,” “complaint” or “scam” or search a phrase that describes the situation such as “IRS call.” Search phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
Don’t believe caller ID.
Scammers can fake caller ID information so the name and number aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up.
Don’t pay upfront for a promise.
Someone might ask for an advance payment for something such as debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance or a job. Someone also might offer a prize, but require a caller to first pay taxes or fees.
Consider how to pay.
Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Don’t wire money through services, including Western Union and MoneyGram, because it’s nearly impossible to get money back. The same is true for payment cards such as MoneyPak, Reloadit or Vanilla.
Talk to someone.
Con artists want victims to make decisions in a hurry and could even make threats. First, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or tell a friend.
Hang up on robocalls.
If a phone call is a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus.
Be skeptical about free trial offers.
Before agreeing to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. Always review monthly statements for unknown charges.
Don’t deposit a check and wire money back.
By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a deposited check turns out to be a fake, the victim of the scam is responsible for repaying the bank.
For more information about scams, visit www.ftc.gov/scams.