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Sheriff warns of scammers


January 10, 2018

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley is reminding county residents that scams by phone, email or on the internet are prevalent around the nation, including Linn County. They usually involve someone contacting you, posing as someone else trying to get you to send them money.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office warned that it had received several complaints Friday, Jan. 5, from citizens stating they were contacted by phone from a deputy and told they had a warrant.

“Most of citizens reporting this incident are local school employees, but everyone should be aware,” said Sgt. Brad O’Dell.

“This scam plays on your fears. These con artists tell potential victims that there is an outstanding warrant, missed jury duty or some minor infraction and that a fine is due. The caller will then demand payment via debit/credit card, Western Union, or instructs victims to obtain a prepaid card to cover the payment.”

That followed a report earlier in the week in the Eugene Register-Guard newspaper about an 80-year-old Springfield man who was scammed out of $26,000 after receiving a phone call from a man who told the victim he was a representative from the Publishers Clearing House and that the victim had won $1.5 million and a new Mercedes-Benz.

“We have had reports of all kinds of scams in Linn County,” Riley said last week.

“Some pose as representatives of banks saying there is something wrong with your account or you owe them money for a loan and they need your account information.

“Others claim to be computer companies, such as Microsoft, telling you there is a virus fix or update that you need to pay or they pose as grandchildren calling, preying on the elderly, telling them they need money wired or sent for some kind of emergency assistance.”

He said more elaborate scams prey on dating website users. Scammers will exchange intimate photos or details then attempt to blackmail users with those exchanges.

Some will reveal after the exchanges that they are under-aged and will threaten to have website users arrested or send the user’s intimate photos to employers, family, wives, etc. if the user does not send them money.

Still other common scams include calls from government agencies such as the IRS and law enforcement threatening arrest if you do not send them money. They will claim to have warrants for your arrest.

They will often even use names of officials at the agency to seem believable.

Scammers will even use apps or computer programs that will allow any phone number they input to show on your caller ID, trying to make the call seem legitimate and avoid detection, Riley said.

“These scammers are often not from this area and are sometimes in other states or countries making prosecution very difficult,” he said.

Riley offers these basic tips to avoid becoming a scam victim:

- Neither the IRS, nor any law enforcement agency, including the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, will ever call demanding money in lieu of being arrested.

Never give personal information including date-of-birth, account information to someone you do not know or are not expecting a call from.

- Never wire money or send pay cards of any type to anyone you do not know. No legitimate agency or business will have you make a payment this way.

- If you are in doubt at all whether this is a scam or not, find contact information for the company or agency calling you, not the one provided by the person demanding money or payment.

One way to do this is to ask for the caller’s agency or company name, find a number for customer service independently, and call to make sure the request was legitimate.

- Above all, do not send any money or give anyone any personal information at any time without thoroughly verifying who the caller is.


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