Over the course of the last several weeks, it seems Iredell County has been the target of numerous telephone scams and fraudulent schemes. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office just this week has received numerous calls and filed several reports about telephone scams. The majority of our reports stem from a call received from a person stating they are a member of the sheriff’s office staff. These callers then make up some type of story which ultimately leads to the call receiver needing to pay a fine or fee.
These calls are very difficult for law enforcement agencies to investigate due to the criminal’s use of technology. These callers are able to “spoof” numbers which make the numbers appear to be legitimate and official. There was even an occasion recently where I have received a telephone call from my own number. These calls actually originate from overseas or outside of the United States. They are routed through several telephone number cloning devices which make them impossible to trace.
If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, please feel free to call our main office and verify with us any information before you proceed to give information or discuss the payment of fines or other types of penalties. I assure you, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office will never ask you to submit a fine payment with a gift card or other type of merchandise in lieu of monetary payment.
There are several types of scams currently going around. Threatening calls from the IRS claiming the person is a target of a criminal investigation. This scams claims there has been a criminal investigation opened and they want to verify the call receiver’s name and social security number to verify they have the correct “suspect.”
Another scam going around is where the caller claims the call receiver’s Social Security account has been frozen pending some type of investigation. To re-activate the account, the call receiver needs to call and provide their name, Social Security Number, date of birth and apply for a new PIN for the account.
As it is now time for open enrollment for Medicare, criminals are aware of this. You may receive various types of unsolicited mail, emails or telephone calls asking for various types of personal information to verify your account information. One scam we saw last year was where individuals were contacted and told they had to pay a fine because they did not have enough Medicare coverage or they had too much coverage. This scam was particularly bad because the victim was asked to pay the fine, plus include several forms of identification to verify their information.
We are asking you to please be attentive to your personal and financial information as well as any elderly family members, and friends you may have. The elderly population seems be the most preferred target group for these criminals.
Make sure any information given out is at your request and the business requesting any information is genuine. Most banks, insurance institutions, and governmental agencies have brick-and-mortar locations you can personally go to, and meet with a real person to verify, and authenticate any request or information they may want or need. By following these simple suggestions, you can protect yourself, your loved ones and friends.
We have a Financial Crimes Unit here at the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, which regularly gives presentations on fraud and scams. If you would like to schedule a presentation or have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or call me at 704-878-3180.