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Phone scammers impersonate law enforcement

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BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office reports a phone scam that appears to have come from a Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office number is hitting the area. 

The sheriff's office said the suspects are identifying themselves as a deputy or sergeant with the sheriff's office and the caller ID comes up as the general Bonneville County number - 208-529-1350 or the Public Safety Dispatch number – 208-529-1200. 

In one instance, the suspects identified themselves as one of its sergeants and the caller ID had that sergeant's work cell number. 

In all of these calls, the suspects gave a separate call back number that has a message indicating it’s the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office or one of its deputies; however, the calls are not coming from the office’s or deputies. It’s believed the suspects are using some type of spoof system that masks the actual origination of the call. 

One of the suspect numbers, 208-400-6678, does have a voice mail recording with a male’s voice identifying himself as a deputy with Bonneville County by using the actual name of one of the deputies, but it is not one of the sheriff office's staff or employees. 

According to the sheriff's office, these types of scams are not uncommon and similar to ones where suspects posing as the IRS, officers, deputies or court personnel attempting to get money under threat of arrest or other consequences. Another version of this scam is a suspect posing as a grandchild or family member who needs to be bonded out of jail, or a suspect claiming to have a loved one held against their will and demanding money for their return. At times the phone number of the suspect goes to a fake voice mail account or an actual person not involved in the scam that is unaware their number was masked and used by the suspects. 

Typically these scams center around the suspect asking for either credit card information or for the victims to obtain various money card brands such as greendot, iTunes and Google to transfer money to from their personal accounts as a way to pay off fines, bonds, or avoid warrants for arrest. This method is always a tell-tale sign of a scam as local courts, and law enforcement never accepts money from the public in this manner and never solicits money over the phone as a way for people to avoid arrest. 

The sheriff's office, and many others across the state, continually get reports of different variations of these scams. Some may be legitimate phone solicitation for genuine causes or business. 

The sheriff's offfice urges you to ask questions, take the time to verify who is calling you, use caution with what information you provide over the phone and keep a close eye on your bank and social media accounts. 

You can always contact your local law enforcement or public safety to verify if an officer is trying to get in touch with you for a legitimate reason.

If you have fallen victim to a phone scam that resulted in a loss of money or property, the sheriff's office urges you to contact your local law enforcement and make a report of it. 

Article Topic Follows: Scam Alerts
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