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Scam alert: "Spoofing"

Message from San Juan County Sheriff Eric Peter,

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center has received several calls this week from community members claiming that someone claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office called them attempting to scam them out of money.

The reports all states that the male on the phone claimed to be Sergeant Kimble or Sergeant Jason Kimble with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. This person is telling people that they have a warrant for their arrest, and they can pay money over the phone to avoid being arrested on the warrant. Out of the five to seven calls we received on this today, we unfortunately had 1 victim who incurred a monetary loss.

THIS IS NOT COMING FROM ANYONE AT THE SAN JUAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

The Sheriff’s Office will NEVER call people to tell them they have a warrant and then ask for money to resolve it. Never give money to someone over the phone who is telling you that you have a warrant or that one of your family members has a warrant or they are in jail. This person is spoofing the phone number on the caller ID, so it looks like it is coming from the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number of 360-378-4151.

Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity, sold illegally, or to get you to pay money to resolve a legal issue like a fake arrest warrant.

If you received a call from someone claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office, do not give them any information, disconnect from the call, and notify the real San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.

TIPS TO AVPOID SPOOFING SCAMS

You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be extremely careful about responding to any request for personal identifying information.

▪ Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.

▪ If you answer the phone and the caller - or a recording - asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.

▪ Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."

▪ Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.

▪ If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.

▪ Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.

▪ If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.

▪ Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.

You can also go to the FCC website for additional information on spoofing and spoofing scams.

Eric Peter- Sheriff

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