Delta County Sheriff warns U.P. of scam phone calls
Sheriff Oswald encourages the community to hang up the phone
ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - The Federal Trade Commission says 3.2 million scams were reported in in the U.S. in 2019. Phone call scams were reported as the most common scams and these scams are affecting people here in the U.P.
Text messages, robocalls and even real people calling you – asking for money.
“I get the exact same ones. I’ve gotten a call to where the sheriff’s office will be sent to arrest me if I don’t pay my taxes. I get the same calls,” said Ed Oswald, Delta County Sheriff.
All of these are scams.
“When you get those calls, just hang up. Don’t even let them finish. If they say the social security, do like I do, hang up the phone immediately,” said Oswald.
Some common scams include information about your social security, a car warranty and even things like winning a lottery you never entered or someone claiming to be your grandchild calling for help.
“They’ll call and say ‘Grandma, grandpa’ depending on who answers. And they just call all these numbers until someone responds, ‘is that you David?’” said Oswald.
Then the scammer pretends to be David, your grandchild, claiming they’re stuck in another country and need money to get home saying, ‘don’t tell mom and dad – they don’t know I’m out of the country.’
“So, what happens at Christmas time, Grandma says, ‘David, how’d that work out with you in Canada?’ he’s like ‘what are you talking about?’ That’s how it came to light months later to us,” said Oswald.
Oswald says there are some common red flags to look out for.
“If they want you to wire money, they want you to get a gift card. Some of those might even be in the United States with gift cards where it’s redeemable, nontraceable,” said Oswald.
If you think you accidently sent money to a scammer, try to stop that payment before it goes through.
“What we’re seeing is really going overseas or to another country. Once it makes it past that we have not seen any type of reimbursement,” said Oswald.
Store level employees are trained on money laundering scams and will warn you if they think you’re sending money to an unreliable source.
“We have seen it stopped quite a bit at that level. I really want to take my hat off to each and every one of those employees,” said Oswald.
The bottom line – be cautious of anyone asking you to send money or give out personal information. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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