SCAM ALERT: If you receive a call like this, police say to hang up
The following is a news release from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.
IDAHO FALLS — The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone of a reoccurring phone scam in our area and around the state where the caller poses as a deputy or law enforcement of some type in order to obtain money.
The typical jist of this scam is the caller identifying as law enforcement, in some cases using the names of the local sheriff, chief, or particular officers and deputies, and then advising the victim they are investigating some sort of crime or court issue.
The caller advises that a warrant is being issued and in order to avoid going to jail, the victim needs to pay money in various ways. Typically the caller asks the victim to send money via Western Union, Green Dot money cards and even ITunes and other gift cards that can be purchased locally and loaded with money.
The suspects have been reported as having various accents and have used the internet to mask their true phone number on caller ID to make it look like a legitimate Sheriff’s Office phone number. In some cases, when the number is not masked, the victims have called it back to find an answering machine or voice mail indicating it is the “Sheriff’s Department” or other law enforcement and/or court entity.
This scam has been reported all over Idaho using many different agencies across the state. No law enforcement entity or court in Idaho collects money in this fashion. If you have a legitimate issue with the courts, civil or criminal, fines, or are part of an investigation, then you most likely will be aware of it via paper service from a deputy or process server, or face to face contact with an officer.
Law enforcement and the courts do contact people by phone from time to time for various reasons, but they will NEVER require payment of money over the phone, have you wire transfer funds or have you obtain a money or gift card from a retail store.
If you are suspicious about someone calling and identifying themselves as law enforcement or court personnel, DO NOT give out your personal information, hang up the phone and call your local law enforcement dispatch or agency. If an officer is calling you for a legitimate reason, you can always verify by calling in to that agency, talking to an officer in person, or calling the courts directly.
If you have fallen victim to this or any other scam where money has been stolen from you, contact your local law enforcement agency and report it immediately. As always, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office recommends frequent monitoring of your bank accounts, credit reports, email, internet and social media accounts for suspicious activity and make you have adequate security protections in place.