(Walhalla, SC)————————————–In our continuing efforts to educate and inform our citizens and to prevent them from becoming victims of scams, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is releasing today our May 2021 Scams Update.
Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office continue to receive reports from citizens of Social Security and/or law enforcement scams.
The scams generally involve someone receiving a telephone call from a scammer who claims to be working with a law enforcement or a federal agency. The caller informs the victim that their personal identifying information, usually involving their social security number, has been compromised and has been connected with a crime out of state, most prominently in drug trafficking on the U.S./Mexico border.
The victim is also told that due to this criminal activity, arrest warrants have been obtained against them. In order to clear up the warrant, the victim is asked to go purchase pre-paid and/or gift cards. After purchasing the cards, the victims are told to supply the card number, by which the funds can be extracted off the cards.
In regards to one of the scams, a citizen supplied the caller with the last four digits of their social security number, their birth date and their address.
In one recent instance, a citizen was contacted from someone claiming to be a deputy with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. The scammers spoofed the non-emergency line from the Sheriff’s Office. The scammer told the citizen that she needed to pay money due to a warrant that had been issued on the citizens for not showing up to court.
The citizen was advised to stay on the phone with the caller while she went to the bank. The teller at the bank notified the citizen that they believed that she was the victim of a scam and to hang up the phone and call the Sheriff’s Office.
“One of the biggest tricks that scammers use in many scams is to create a sense of urgency or pressure in order for the victim to make a decision in haste or in a panic that perhaps they would not make otherwise,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “In relation to the scams mentioned in this update, there are a couple of points to keep in mind. First, a law enforcement agency will not ask anyone to pay in order to have an arrest warrant recalled or the charges dropped. A law enforcement agency can lawfully arrest anyone that has an arrest warrant and/or a bench warrant that has been issued by the court.”
“Second, one of the surest ways to recognize a scam is by someone requesting payment with a pre-paid or a gift card,” continues Master Deputy Watt. “A legitimate business, organization or agency will not request payment using this method. Also, do not provide any personal identifying information or your address if someone asks you for that information in any type of correspondence or a phone call if you did not solicit that contact personally.”