Summit County sheriff thwarts scam targeting elderly woman
Gas station employee noticed she was withdrawing large sums of money
Summit County law enforcement officers are always prepared to answer the call. But last week, Summit County Sheriff Frank Smith happened to find himself at the right place at the right time — helping to thwart a scam targeting an elderly woman.
Smith went to the Chevron gas station in Kimball Junction on the afternoon of Sept. 5 to refuel when he was approached by a store employee, according to a media release provided by the Sheriff’s Office.
The worker told Smith he suspected a senior citizen was being scammed by someone, and he directed Smith’s attention to an older woman who was using the ATM inside the gas station.
After speaking with the woman, the sheriff learned she had made multiple, large cash withdrawals after she was manipulated over the telephone for more than five hours. The Sheriff’s Office said it believes the would-be victim was being victimized by an individual or group fraudulently seeking payment.
Smith at the time was in an unmarked police car and had limited law enforcement identifiers. He ordered dispatch to send a marked patrol car with a uniformed Sheriff’s Office deputy to the gas station to help legitimize the interaction, the release said.
A patrol sergeant and Smith traveled with the woman to two different banks in the Park City area. She was able to redeposit the $15,000 that she had been preparing to send to the scam account.
The gas station employee was awarded an “outstanding citizen” certificate from the Sheriff’s Office for his “attention to detail and quick response in reporting this incident.”
The Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about the growing number of scams happening in Summit County. Deputies received numerous phone calls days before the Sept. 5 incident to verify demands for money in order to avoid jail time. The scammers were pretending to be Sheriff’s Office employees and the requests for money were not legitimate. Other scams include callers saying payment is required because jury duty was missed or there is an outstanding warrant.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud include: not speaking over the phone with strangers who identify themselves as law enforcement and demand cash or gift cards; not responding to emails or text messages from an unknown source; calling verified numbers to confirm requests or demands for payment; not sharing explicit photos that could lead to people exploiting the images for money; do speak with vulnerable individuals about scams; and call the local police or sheriff’s office to verify claims. Residents are also urged to hang up on the suspect.
“We WILL NEVER call and demand or make a request for money,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post alerting residents to the scams. “No legitimate government agent, reputable business or business representative will ever call you and tell you to send them money for ANY reason through cash apps, gift cards, wire transfer, etc.”
Individuals can call 435-615-3601 to speak with a Sheriff’s Office deputy.
The Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about the growing number of scams happening in Summit County. Deputies received numerous phone calls days before the Sept. 5 incident to verify demands for money in order to avoid jail time.
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