Getting calls from unknown numbers? Scammers are getting better, sheriff’s office says
Phone, email scams give access to personal, family funds
EAGLE — A retired Wall Street guy was enjoying his morning coffee when his phone rang … the caller said his grandson was in trouble and that he should send $25,000 right away.
That’s odd, the grandfather thought. His grandson lives in the Vail Valley and is probably sleeping late during a school break.
The grandfather called his daughter, who peeked into her son’s room to make sure he was in there. He was.
That’s one scam averted, but the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is receiving all kinds of scam reports. Scams run the gamut, including phone, tech support, email, virtual reality kidnapping and family members in jail scams. They start with phone calls, emails and mailings.
They’re getting better
Scammers are getting better and are a continuing cause for concern, officials with the Sheriff’s Office said.
“Scams can be difficult to recognize and usually end with a stranger gaining access to personal computers, information, financial accounts and can leave family members short of thousands of dollars,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release urging people to be cautious.
Among their latest incarnations, scammers pose as a lawyer or bondsman demanding money to release a family member “in trouble.”
It’s likely not real. Call the cops right away.
“If something seems suspicious, hang up and call directly to a trusted source for confirmation,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Refund or warranty scams are also becoming more popular with scammers. When someone calls asking if you were happy with a service, and you say you weren’t, the scammer offers a refund. Instead of returning money into your account, they withdraw money.
If a caller tries to “create a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics, it’s probably a scam,” the Federal Trade Commission said in a warning on its website.
IRS scams still around
A sophisticated IRS phone scam has been around for a couple of years, the IRS reports.
A caller insists the victims owe back taxes, and that they have to pay immediately with a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said on the agency’s website. “We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves.”
The IRS will never ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur through the mail., Werfel said.