On Monday, February 25th, members of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office learned of a telephone scam that occurred over the weekend in which a number of Sullivan County residents were contacted. At least one resident in the Town of Newport was victimized for $2,800.
According to Sheriff John Simonds, “The victim reported that the caller, whose caller ID showed the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, was contacted by a male who identified himself as a current Deputy from the Sheriff’s Office. During the call, the male explained to the victim that there were warrants out for their arrest for failing to appear for jury duty. The caller even provided fabricated court docket numbers and threatened that if they did not pay the required funds, a deputy would be arriving at their home to arrest them. They were threatened with serving time at the Sullivan County House of Corrections if they did not pay.”
Simonds went on to say that “The caller convinced the victim to go to a local store and purchase a number of gift cards with a value of $2,800. Once purchased, the victim was told to scratch the back of the cards off, revealing the numeric pin code and to give those codes to the caller. Once this code was received, the caller was to mail the cards to 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, the ‘Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center'.”
Some things to know about scamming:
• It is important to know that the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office will never contact anyone by phone to solicit funds in lieu of an arrest warrant.
• The Sheriff’s Office believes that the scammer in this case was able to obtain information about a deputy’s name by visiting the county website. The ability to use the Sheriff’s Office telephone number is done by a process known as “spoofing”. Spoofing is an act where a caller has the ability to forge caller ID information and present false names and numbers.
• Government agencies or reputable businesses will never ask for you to get gift cards and scratch the back to reveal a numeric pin code.
• Government agencies or reputable businesses will never ask for your personal banking information over the phone. If this were to happen, verify the call by either going to the business in person or look up the number yourself and contact them for verification. Never use the telephone number you have been provided until you are ready to return the call.
If you have become a victim of one of these telephone calls, contact your local police department.
“If you have any questions regarding the legitimacy of a caller from the Sheriff’s Office, please feel free to contact me at 603-863-4200,” said Simonds. “I can also be reached at email@example.com."