Equifax scammer posing as an Eagle County Sheriff’s detective called that detective | VailDaily.com

Equifax scammer posing as an Eagle County Sheriff’s detective called that detective

An Eagle County woman was victimized by scammers claiming to be from Equifax, following the massive hack of that company's data. Scammers have become so brazen that one called an Eagle County Sheriff's detective on his office phone, claiming to be an Eagle County Sheriff's detective.

EAGLE — Scammers have become so brazen that an Eagle County Sheriff's detective received a call, on the office phone, from a scammer claiming to be an Eagle County Sheriff's detective.

The scammer then requested the detective's Social Security number, claiming that he wanted to pull up a warrant, said Jessie Porter, a public information officer with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.

"The scammer didn't realize that he was actually speaking to a detective from the (sheriff's office). We receive calls almost daily reporting phone scams," Porter said.

So it should surprise no one that the tentacles of the massive Equifax hack, and scams that inevitably followed, have reached into Eagle County.

“I would tell people not to release any personal information to anyone.”Jessie PorterPublic information officer, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office

Several locals have been contacted by scammers, and a few have lost money. One woman called the Vail Daily to warn others.

She was called by someone posing as a federal marshal, informing her that her identity had been stolen and someone had committed a crime posing as her.

To prove your identity and protect your assets so the government doesn't take them, you need to put money into iTunes gift cards and send us a picture of you and the cards to show that you bought them, the scammers told her.

The scammers were so convincing, and thanks to the Equifax hack had so much of her personal information to create the ruse, including her Social Security number, that she did it. The scammers then transferred the money off the cards and disconnected the phone line from which they had called.

She filed a report with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, but the damage had already been done.

"I would tell people not to release any personal information to anyone," Porter said.

{Here’s how to protect yourself from the massive Equifax data breach}

Making Americans vulnerable

The Equifax hack has made 143 million Americans more vulnerable. For scammers and other criminals, a crisis is an opportunity.

"Don't panic. But be vigilant, said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America. "With this breach, criminals have everything they need to victimize you."

Equifax is not calling you.

"When you hear someone say, 'This is Equifax calling to verify your account information,' hang up," said Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.

"Don't tell them anything. They're not from Equifax. It's a scam. Equifax will not call you out of the blue."

"When you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you significantly increase your chances of becoming a victim," Porter said.

If you believe it is a scam, then you should contact local law enforcement or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Porter said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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How to help yourself

• Don’t give out any personal information. This advice is especially relevant with regard to financial information, such as bank account or Social Security numbers, unless you have initiated the call. And make sure to verify that the phone number is legit.

• Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers can change their numbers, so they look like they’re from a particular company when they’re not.

• If you get a robocall, hang up. Don’t press the No. 1 key to speak to a live operator or another key to take your name off their list. It will probably only lead to more robocalls.

• If you’ve already received a call that you think is fake, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.

• Follow the important steps linked here to protect yourself against fraud related to the Equifax security breach. Learn more about the breach at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

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