Page County Sheriff warns of “Public Official” phone scam


February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Page County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about recent, attempted phone scams that have been happening in the area. Sheriff Lyle Palmer says one of the attempted scams has a the caller is posing as a law enforcement, court or other, public official, from another country.  The caller says your relative in another country and is in trouble, whether with the court system, law enforcement, or needing money for another reason.  The caller pleads with the resident to send money to keep their relative out of jail, prison, or other legal problems including being stranded. This is a new twist on the old “grandchild in trouble with the law” phone scam. Palmer says fortunately, everyone that has contacted the Page County Sheriff’s Office has not fallen for the scam. 

Another attempted scam that has been reported recently has to do with personal financial issues.  The caller claims to be from a debt collection agency and demands money be sent immediately or the resident will be arrested.  Sheriff Palmer says this is definitely a false accusation as immediate arrests don’t come from debt collection agencies.  They come from court orders or active investigations and are not done over the phone.  Law Enforcement does not call on the phone to collect a debt from a private individual / company.   Law Enforcement will show up in person with a court order from a previous court judgment that was rendered.

 If anyone calls you and wants money sent immediately, always be cautious.  Ask for a phone number to return a call.  If it is a legitimate call, you should have no problem getting one.  Check out the alleged reason for sending money with other relatives, no matter what the caller tells you, even if they claim to be a relative.  Call Law Enforcement to report the call and the details before you would comply with the requests. If someone wants money immediately, it is usually a good indicator of a scam.  Always be cautious about giving any financial information over the phone / internet as it could be “seen” by more than the intended viewer and your information compromised.