Deputies with the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office continue to receive complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to one of the various scams, or were contacted by individuals who were attempting to use the scam to obtain money. It is reported that scams cost victims over $23 million dollars a year. One scam we recently dealt with was the IRS Scam where someone calls claiming to be from the IRS and that you owed money which must be paid immediately, or you would be picked up by the police or some other law enforcement agency. The scammers continue to evolve, for example, they now have the ability to force your caller-id to show any number they wish.
Another of the recent scams involve the caller reporting to be from the Social Security Administration. The scam caller says that your Social Security Number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity or has been involved in a crime. From here there are several variations, some need you to provide your SSN to reactivate it, or that your bank account is about to be seized. They require you to get gift cards, then give him the codes to make them safe. Once they get the information, they use it to take your money. First, both these actions are part of the scam, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will never call you to wire or send money or threaten to suspend your benefits. The number on the Caller-ID even shows the SSA phone number. If you receive a call from the SSA, but you are in doubt, hang up and call the SSA back direct at 1-800-772-1213. Never give any part of your SSN, bank account or credit card information to anyone who contacts you on the phone.
The most recent scam involved the person offering to update the software on your computer for a fee. To do this they tell you, you must give them control of your computer. This action gives them the ability to go anywhere on your computer, enabling them to steal your data. The Sheriff’s Office received two complaints this past Monday about this scam. In both cases, the scammer then calls them back to say the software was outdated and they wanted to refund their money. The caller, still able to control your computer, asks the victim to look at the screen to verify the amount is correct. The amount displayed shows a credit of several thousand dollars more. Once the victim tells them of the error, they advise the victim to go get $500 Google Play Gift Cards then provide them with the activation numbers so they can recover their money. They pressure the victim to get this done as quick as they can. Never give an unknown individual control of your computer and no company asks to be paid by Gift Cards.
Other local past scams include the Arrest Warrant Scam where they say there is a warrant for your arrest, they were even using the names of local officers and the Call-ID showed the Sheriff’s Office phone number, saying that if you just wanted to pay the fine, to not be arrested, you needed to provide the Pre-paid Card numbers for the amount provided, or send a Western Union Moneygram.
Another past one is a call professing to be a relative that is visiting the area and was arrested and needed bail money. They provide some information that would cause some people to possibly believe them, and again they asked that you either wire money or get the Pre-Paid Cards and provide them the number so they can collect the money.
Some local merchants have instituted a policy that they will not sell more than one $500 PrePaid Card in an effort to protect their customers from these many scams that are taking place, many scammers using the card as a way to take the victim’s money.
In addition to the above warning, the Sheriff’s Office advises the following:
• Hang up on suspicious calls
• Be cautious of Caller IDs
• Do not be pressured into taking immediate action
• Do not provide passwords, credit card numbers, bank account information, or other personal data.
• and, Don’t send money if the caller tells you to wire money or pay with a Prepaid Card.