Summit County Sheriff’s Office warns public about aggressive phone scams
Caller claims to be a sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office
March 7, 2017
A Snyderville Basin man received a phone call over the weekend from a man who identified himself as Sgt. Morgan, with the Summit County Sheriff's Office. The so-called sergeant claimed the man failed to respond to a federal court summons and would need to pay $1,400 to fix the situation.
The man told the caller he would only be able to pay $500. He completed the request and provided the suspect with the number to a prepaid debit card containing the money.
Lt. Andrew Wright, with the Sheriff's Office, said no one is employed within the department under that name and identified the situation as a scam. An investigation is ongoing.
"In the past we have had several different scams where people pose as a member of our office, the IRS or as DEA agents," Wright said. "We understand that receiving a call like that can be very intimidating and it can cause a certain amount of fear, but our advice is to never give a money payment or gift card number over the phone to any person."
With tax season underway, Wright said scammers are becoming increasingly more aggressive in their attempts to steal money. He added, "Residents need to be alerted at all times and need to really pay attention to what people are telling them to do."
Wright emphasized that most government agencies, including the IRS and Sheriff's Office, won't request a payment over the phone without prior correspondence. He said the Sheriff's Office will serve warrants in person and only accept payments after someone has posted bail.
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'There are so many scams out there," Wright said. "However, we will never call someone or tell someone they have to pay money over the phone by providing a gift card or credit card."
Law enforcement officials are often unable to locate suspects in these situations because of the technology they use, which prevents officials from identifying the source of the call. He added, "Our ability of recouping the money is often just as slim."
Wright encouraged anyone who receives a similar call to immediately contact the Sheriff's Office before completing any financial transactions.
"If you question it, even a tiny bit, just don't follow through. Ignore them, don't call back and report it to us so we have knowledge of it and, if for some reason we ended up finding one or more of these scammers, we want to be able to link as many cases as we can," Wright said. "We do our best to try and follow any leads, but it has become more and more difficult for us to track them down and they are literally scamming people out of millions of dollars by doing this."
To report a fraudulent phone call or learn more information about similar scams, call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at 435-615-3600.
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