MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – A sheriff’s office in NEA is warning residents to be wary of phone and mail scams – a nuisance to most but to some, a serious financial threat.
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office said in the release everyday, they receive complaints of telephone and mail scams of the many varieties that re-appear from time to time.
“We have issued alert bulletins many times in the past in an effort to keep the public informed and warned to be extremely wary of these fraudulent schemes so as not to become victims of them,” the release said.
The news release said if you receive any phone calls, texts, emails, messages on social media, or delivered mail asking you to send money, transfer money, load money onto a pre-paid credit or debit card, or to provide any kind of verifying personal information whatsoever such as date of birth, social security number, maiden name, or address, please be extremely hesitant and cautious in proceeding.
Many of the scam calls begin with an announcement of one being a winner of a cash award, a cash drawing, a vacation, a free home security system, or some other too-good-to-be-true offer. Since most legitimate businesses would not survive by actually giving away thousands of dollars in this way, it can almost always be safely assumed to be a scammer.
The red flag of the scam is asking one to wire or send processing fees in advance, in order to receive the money. As many wire money or load money into a cash card, the funds are forever lost and unable to be recovered.
Other scammers pretend to be calling from governmental agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, accusing one of having not paid taxes. They may threaten seizures of bank accounts, property, and possible criminal charges unless one immediately wire money to settle the “debt.” The IRS does not operate this way. They do not need iTunes gift cards, either.
A few signs to look for:
- Card services/Cardholder services. This is not what a business identifies itself as.
- Offers to reduce your credit card debit.
- Free vacations
- Someone telling you they’re from Windows and a computer virus is on your PC.
These are some examples of fraudulent schemes and scams that are active in this area. There are several others as well.
Scammers have the ability to “spoof” the telephone numbers that show up on your caller ID. They can make it appear that you are receiving the call from a local number or a number for example in Washington, DC where federal government offices are located, even though the caller is in fact calling you from a foreign country overseas. One such event happened to a local business in Walnut Ridge, where scammers used this exploitative service to make phone calls which appeared to come from an 870-886 number.
Scammers can be very aggressive, intimidating, and threatening. Many have reported the scammers berating them for not falling for the dirty scheme. The best thing to do, the sheriff’s office said, is to simply hang up the phone and not speak with them.
DO NOT SEND OR TRANSFER MONEY IN ANY MANNER TO ANYONE OR ANYPLACE unless you are absolutely certain it is for a legitimate reason.
Once the money is sent or transferred, it is gone. It is not like a check that you can turn around and stop payment on. Your money will be gone, and you will not get it back, according to the sheriff.
The Federal Government accepts citizen complaints and reports of all scams from all sources. If you believe you have been contacted by scammers, please consider calling the following to report it:
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (all scams except IRS scams)
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (for IRS scams only)
Some information derived from news release out of Baxter County Sheriff’s Office