SCAMMERS want your Money! Don’t give it to them!
Take time, verify who you’re talking to, and don’t use their phone numbers
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has warned you about these types of SCAMS before, but we continue sending out warnings because there are still members of our community that haven’t been advised of these scams.
Law Enforcement will NEVER call and demand payment for a warrant or for any other reason, not a Police Agency, Sheriff’s Office, State Patrol, FBI, or DEA, not any of them. If you receive one of these calls and you’re still in doubt because predatory scammers can be very convincing as they demand that you pay with bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, Apple cards, bonds, or wire funds to them IMMEDIATELY. Hang up! It is a SCAM!
Unfortunately, criminal scammers seem to be a constant predator in our world and continue to be very active in our community. The whole scam, no matter what story they are using, succeeds or fails on the level of fear and uncertainty they can cause the potential victim. The best way for potential victims to keep their money and not be victimized is to stop, take a minute to think, and investigate the story they’re being told.
Call the agency or business the person contacting you claims to represent. Use contact phone numbers that YOU looked up or obtained by any method you choose but do NOT use the phone numbers the caller/scammer provides. If you do, you’re merely calling the same scammer to talk to. If they tell you that you MUST stay on the phone, that is part of the scam to keep you fearful and to stop you from verifying the information or talking with family, a friend, a bank employee, or someone else who will know this is a scam.
No law enforcement agency, business, or any other reputable entity will threaten you, demanding payment immediately while telling you that you must stay on the phone with them.
Here are a few recent examples:
1) A potential victim received a call from a person claiming to be “Captain Mark Ruffalo with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office” (No such person works for us). He tells the potential victim she missed jury duty and there’s a warrant issued for her arrest. She called the phone number provided by this fake person (don’t do this to verify the information because you’re calling the scammer, not the Sheriff’s Office), which went to a phone tree with several options for several (fake) units within the scammers (fake) department. This potential victim became suspicious and drove to the real Sheriff’s Office and confirmed this was a scam.
2) A potential victim received a phone call from an unknown male claiming to be with the “Spokane Sheriff’s Office”. He refused to provide his name and was very unprofessional toward the potential victim, and she immediately hung up. The scammer attempted to call her back, but she did not answer or provide any information to the imposter. Thankfully she called and reported this incident to Crime Check at 509-456-2233 and verified this was a scam.
3) A potential victim received a phone call from a “Mark Mucy” falsely claiming to be with the “Spokane Sheriff’s Department”. The potential victim called the phone number provided by this fake person (don’t do this to verify the information because you’re calling the scammer, not the Sheriff’s Office) and was connected to “Mark”. He told her she had two warrants out for her arrest and needed to provide $5,000 for bond to prevent her arrest. She went to her bank and withdrew the funds from her account, and then “Mark” told her to send it to him via a Bitcoin machine/account. This raised her suspicion that this was a scam, and she did not pay the scammers ransom for the fake warrants.
4) A potential victim received a phone call from an unknown male claiming to be “Sergeant Elliott with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office”. Here, the scammer was close to naming a real person but failed to provide the correct rank. The potential victim hung up but then unknowingly called the scammer back and left a voicemail. The fake scammer called her back and informed her there was an active warrant for her arrest for failure to appear in court on 12/14/2022. To prevent her arrest, she needed to pay $4,000 for her bond. She went to the bank, and while in the process of withdrawing the funds, she told the bank staff about the call threatening her arrest. The bank staff informed her this was a scam, and she did not lose her money.
Do not fall for these scams. If you ever get a phone call threatening your arrest or that your power/water will be turned off, stop, and confirm with the law enforcement agency or company using phone numbers you obtained by your own internet search. Do NOT call the numbers the scammer provided.
Again, Law Enforcement will NOT call and threaten you with arrest while demanding money. This will NEVER happen!
Since it is tax season, we want to also remind you about tax scams.
From the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts webpage (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts), “Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll, and tax professionals.
The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. See also: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.”
For more information about protecting your privacy, identity, and online security, including how to report phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with other scams and consumer information, go to the FTC website https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/ or the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at https://www.ic3.gov/.