Sheriff: Don’t give out financial info over phone

Published 4:05 pm Monday, July 23, 2018

Most people have been there before. The phone rings, and it’s a number that you don’t recognize. You answer it, and it’s someone saying you owe a debt and if you don’t pay you will be arrested.

These calls are becoming more common these days with the elderly — and some younger adults — being targeted by scammers. These scams range from credit card debt to tax issues with the IRS.

Sheriff Mitch Williams said it is not uncommon for calls to come into the station regarding attempts by scammers to extort money over the phone.

“We are getting several different types of scams,” said the sheriff. “One of them would be the credit card. One of them is the IRS. They are wanting you to pay (or) give them credit card information or something of that nature. Never do that over the phone.”

Williams said if the IRS or any company is going to have some kind of legal act, they are either going to already have your credit card information or they are going to see you in person.

“If it’s a credit card company wanting a payment, why would they take a credit card to pay a credit card. It doesn’t make sense,” said Williams. “As far as law enforcement, (they) are going to contact you in person most likely. Very seldom would it be over the phone.

The best advice the sheriff can give someone is to never give out financial information over the phone or Internet.

“If you get something in the mail, my advice would be to contact the company that you are doing business with and confirm that,” said the sheriff. “If it’s somebody that you are not knowledgeable of, I would totally disregard it.

“A lot of people, they are getting these fictitious companies that are trying to extort money out of them. The problem that they’ve got is a lot of people don’t realize who they are and are not doing business with. So, it’s best not to even respond to that or react to it.”

Williams said in any situation there is a legitimate issue, you would know it. In the case that a scammer calls you, the sheriff has one solution — hang up on them.