Phone scam: Sheriff's Department "does not call people asking for money"

7 months 2 weeks 1 day ago April 18, 2016 Apr 18, 2016 Monday, April 18 2016 Monday, April 18, 2016 12:52:00 PM CDT in News
By: Jake Schnierow, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The Boone County Sheriff's Department received around a dozen phone calls during the last month about a phone scam.

Det. Tom O'Sullivan said the scammers are saying they are deputies with the department. They then proceed to tell the person they call that there is a warrant out for their arrest for failing to appear for jury duty.

O'Sullivan said the scammers have access to new technology, making it easier to trick people. The scammers are able to manipulate the caller ID and phone number that appears when they call. 

O'Sullivan said he was skeptical of the scammers' abilities at first, but he now knows it is possible to alter caller ID.

"Technology is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately you get criminals using it to further their enterprise," O'Sullivan said.

The phone scammers tell people the arrest warrant can be settled over the phone by purchasing a prepaid debit card. People are asked to buy a card with, on average, between $400 and $600. 

O' Sullivan said once people are asked for money, they should hang up the phone.

"The Sheriff's Department does not call people asking for money," O'Sullivan said. "We never do it and we never will do it."

O'Sullivan said the best tactic is to hang up immediately after the scammers ask for money. He said asking questions about the sheriff's department will not help identify the scammers.

"These scammers are smart and they'll have an answer for just about any question you ask," O'Sullivan said. "We encourage anyone who gets these calls to immediately hang up."

Anyone who believes they may be receiving a scam call is urged to contact the department at (573) 442-6131.

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