Bonneville County residents are continuing to fall victim to a recurring phone scam.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office said the scam involves a call from someone claiming to be a deputy or some sort of law enforcement official. They tell the victim they’re investigating some sort of crime or court issue and that a warrant is being issued in the victim’s name. Victims are told they’ll be taken to jail if they don’t pay money to the caller in one of a variety of ways.
Typically, the caller asks the victim to send money via Western Union, Green Dot money cards, or even I-Tunes or other gift cards. Those cards can be purchased locally and loaded with money.
The callers appear to be fairly sophisticated. According to reports, they often have a variety of accents and have used the internet to mask their true phone numbers on caller-ID. They can even make their number appear to be originating from a legitimate Sheriff’s Office phone number. In some cases, when the number is not masked, victims have called it back to find an answering machine or voice mail indicating it is the “Sheriff’s Department” or some other entity.
Regardless of the entity, the real Sheriff’s Office says no Idaho law enforcement entity or court collects money in that fashion. If you have a legitimate issue with law enforcement or the courts, you will likely be contacted in person by an officer. While legitimate officers may contact you by phone on occasion, they will never require payment of money over the phone, ask you to wire transfer funds, or entice you to obtain a money or gift card.
The Sheriff’s Office also advises you do not give out any personal information over the phone. If you are asked for that kind of information, hang up and call your local law enforcement dispatch. If a real officer is calling, you can always verify that with the agency that officer is representing.
If you may have fallen victim to the scam, contact your local law enforcement agency and report it immediately.
The Sheriff’s Office also recommends you frequently monitor your bank accounts, credit reports, e-mail, internet and social media accounts for suspicious activity and make sure you have adequate security protections in place.