Sheriff’s Office Says It’s Heard From Citizens Receiving Phone Scams

Authorities say you should just hang up on these scammers.


Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office says it’s been hearing from citizens who received scam phone calls. Spokeswoman Taylor Clarke says the agency has received a lot of calls in the past week.  .

What makes it difficult is that these phone scammers often “spoof” legitimate phone numbers such as the Sheriff’s Office or other agencies. That’s where the number which appears on your caller I.D. screen is not the location where the call is originating.

In one instance, the caller clams to be a sergeant or a lieutenant with the Sheriff’s Office, and says you need to report to the Sheriff’s Office for a warrant. However, those people say this problem can go away if you pay them a certain amount through purchasing a gift card,or providing them with your bank account information. “If you think it’s suspicious at all, we always encourage people to ask for details and try to confirm any information, “Clarke says. “If they’re not able to confirm any personal information or any solid details, than most of the time it is a scam call.”

She says tell that person you’ll call them back, and then contact the Sheriff’s Office. More than likely, says Clarke, the people  at the Sheriff’s Office will say they’re not trying to contact you.

Other scam calls reported to the Sheriff’s Office include ones where the caller claims to be from the Frederick County Health Department, telling the respondent that they are in danger of losing their Medicare or Medicaid benefits and they need to pay something to correct this problem. Clarke says hang up, and then call the Health Department and find out how to  confirm the status of your Medicare or Medicaid Coverage.

One of the most well known scams is where callers say they’re from the IRS, and that you owe back taxes. Clarke says the IRS does not call individual taxpayers, or send them e-mails or text messages. “IRS always conducts business only through mail and never through phone, ” she says. “So that’s another quick way to catch it that it’s probably a scammer.”

And perhaps one of the most familiar scam is caller claiming your son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter or other family members is in jail in a foreign country, and needs money for bail. “The easiest way is to absolutely hang up, and to call that loved one and contact them, and confirm that it really wasn’t in fact them.”

And don’t send any money. “A lot of times they’ll ask you to purchase a specific amount of gift cards such as Google Play, Amazon and I-Tunes. If that’s the case, it’s always a scammer because obviously no one is going to ask you to pay them $50 worth of I-Tunes gift cards to get your grandchild back,” says Clarke.

The bottom line is hang up if you suspect a scam, and check out anything they say to you. “Never give them any personal information over the phone. Don’t give them any bank account info, PIN numbers, Social Security numbers. Don’t give them anything personal over the phone. And if you have to, just say ‘I’m going to hang up and I’ll call them  back,” Clarke says.


By Kevin McManus