Washington County Sheriff’s Office warns residents of ongoing phone scams

Phone scams are increasingly becoming a nuisance and a threat to financial security for those that are on the receiving end of calls.

This time, Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews is warning residents of scammers who are posing as workers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Clerk of Court and the Social Security Administration. The phone number is often “spoofed” and appears on caller ID as one of the agencies listed above. Agency employee impersonators will claim there is a potential issue or discrepancy with the account in question or state that information needs to be verified, someone has a warrant or fines need to be paid.

“Scammers will go to great lengths to get what they want,” says Sheriff Crews. “It is important to remain alert and to warn other family members who may be vulnerable to these calls.”

During these calls, scammers have threatened prosecution or arrest, if they do not receive the information or payments they are requesting.

“If you are contacted by a person who threatens you with legal action or arrest, in order to obtain information, the call is fraudulent,” states Crews. “Do not give them your social security number or banking information. Hang up the phone immediately.”

If you are contacted by a person claiming to be an employee of either of the agencies, it is always safest to hang up and call directly to the corresponding agency. SSA can be reached at 1-800-772-1213 and Washington County Clerk of Court phone number is 850-638-6285.

WCSO is also reminding citizens of other scams that seem to be reoccurring in our area, such as IRS impersonators and callers who claim to be a grandchild that is incarcerated. Numerous people have been scammed out of thousands of dollars by people who claim to be a grandchild that needs to be bonded out of jail.

Again, Sheriff Crews advises the best way to make sure the call is legitimate is to hang up and call the arresting agency back directly to verify the information. If the caller advises he or she is in the custody of the Washington County Jail, you can call 850-638-6110 to verify the information.

This article originally appeared on Washington County News: Washington County Sheriff’s Office warns residents of ongoing phone scams

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