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Cass County sheriff warns of scammer impersonating law enforcement

The caller attempted to access and transfer the employee’s money through commonly used “cash apps” on smartphones.

Phone scam
Contributed

WALKER — The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a scam directed at area businesses with the caller falsely impersonating the sheriff’s office.

According to a news release Monday, March 21, two incidents were reported in which a caller requested the victim give them their cell number, only communicate with them through their cellphone and not to discuss the call with other individuals.

In both reported incidents, the caller was “phishing” for business and account information. The caller created a scenario requesting the worker take cash from the business to settle a fraud report and transfer money to them in the form of a cash prepaid card or Western Union transfer.

In one incident, the caller was suspicious of the call and ended the call. In a second report, an employee followed through with the request of the scammer and several thousand dollars was transferred, at a loss to the business and the individual.

It is extremely difficult to refund money added to such gift cards and apps, which is why that’s almost always the request from scammers, the sheriff’s office reported.

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In both incidents, the caller with no caller ID posed as “Cass County Sheriff’s Office” with a case number. The fraud continued with the caller attempting to access and transfer the employee’s money through commonly used cash apps on smartphones.

Initial investigation indicated the scammer called from a foreign country. The Cass County Sheriff's Office or any police department will never call people to ask them to provide finances of any sort to them under the threat of arrest.

If unsure about the legitimacy of a call from someone claiming to be law enforcement, officials say to hang up and call a local law enforcement agency directly. Do not buy a prepaid credit card, transfer money, or use an app in response to this call and do not provide any information, the sheriff’s office warned.

Sheriff Tom Burch reminded residents to follow these tips to help avoid falling victim to a telephone scam:

  • Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payments.
  • Never give out personal or financial information to unsolicited callers, including account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords or other identifying information.
  • Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers or Green Dot MoneyPak card numbers to someone unknown.
  • If an inquiry comes from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on an account statement or the agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. With spoofing becoming more common, question the number on the caller ID. Be cautious and verify the person on the other end of the phone.
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