The Carson City Sheriff’s Office has continued to see an increased amount of phone scams. We want the public to remain vigilant and educated in these issues.
Scammers are routinely calling people saying they have missed a court date, missed a jury summons, they have a warrant, or they owe fines. The caller identifies themselves as a member of the Sheriff’s Office or member of the court. They will even use real names of high ranking members of the Sheriff’s Office or Judges, names that they think the public will recognize. The caller will at times provide a phone number to call back with a recording saying it’s the Sheriff’s Office. No government agency will call you in this fashion and then ask you to send them money over the phone to handle a situation like that. Any legitimate issues you would have involving a missed court date or jury summons will require you to show up in person. No law enforcement agency will collect money over the phone for any issue.
No legitimate business or government agency will have you pay off a debt or fine by asking you to purchase a gift card, I-tunes card, money gram, or wiring money in some way. Simply hang up and do not respond to them.
The scams we see in Carson City are no different than what is occurring all over the nation. The majority of the criminals masterminding these scams can be anywhere in the world. They can disguise their phone numbers and e-mails making it seem as if they are contacting you from within the area you live. When in reality they might be in another state or even another country. The scammers are “spoofing” their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. “Spoofing” allows the suspect to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the victim’s caller ID display or making it appear that a message came from any e-mail address the sender chooses. It may appear as if you are talking to someone locally when in reality they are in a different country. The scammers will provide any lie to further what they are trying to accomplish.
Some of the most common scams we see on a regular basis within this area are:
- Telephone Scams
- Utility Company Scams
- Overpayment & Fake Check Scams
- Sales and Rental Scams
- Law Enforcement/Court Scams
Telephone Scams: The telephone scam stories are endless, they range from “you have won a prize” such as money, a new vehicle, lottery winnings, and cheap travel packages. Alternatively, they can be credit reduction, loans, charitable causes, fake business and investment opportunities.
Utility Company Scams: Scammers will call you by phone stating you are past due on a power bill, gas bill, or cable bill. They will tell you if you do not pay immediately the utility service will be discontinued and to avoid any other charges they will ask for your credit card number. Utility companies do not function this way and you will normally receive a termination notice in the mail with several days advanced warning.
Overpayment & Fake Check Scams: This scam is commonly seen when someone has an item for sale on a third party website such as Craigslist or EBay. The scammer will contact you usually by e-mail or text, indicating they want to purchase the item you have for sale. They will send you a check for a much larger amount than what the item is listed for. The scammer will ask you to deposit the large check into your bank account and wire them the difference. A deposited check can take several days or more to clear. When the original check turns out to be fraudulent and bounces, the victim is responsible for the amount to the bank. The scammer will often have explanations for why the check is so large and sometimes will tell the victim to keep some of the extra money.
Sales and Rental Scams: This is common with purchasing or renting property, homes, or businesses. The scammer advertises online even with pictures telling potential victims to go by and look at the location. The scammer will never meet with you in person stating they are not able to. Then they will tell you to wire money to cover an application fee and security deposit. Once they have received your money, you will never hear from them again, and the property was never actually available or owned by them. If they won’t meet with you in person or have a representative meet with you in person to show you the property then it is most likely a scam.
Law Enforcement/Court Scams: These scams involve someone contacting you stating they work for local law enforcement and you have a warrant, a fine to pay off, or you missed a jury summons. They will tell you if you don’t pay a fine by phone you will be arrested. The telephone number provided by the scammer often will have a recording stating that you have contacted either the Sheriff’s Office or a Fines/Fees location with the Courts.