The Delaware County Sheriff's Office has received a renewed round of complaints from county residents that resemble a recurring nationwide telephone scam.
The scammers in two calls December 29 told residents they were deputies from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office and had the person's name. The recipients were told there was an emergency and to call the Sheriff's Office-leaving a telephone number (but in reality not the Sheriff's Office number).
In other variants, the callers have claimed to be court workers, IRS, or FBI Agents, or even the U.S. Marshal Service. The caller will say that sheriffs, marshals, or someone in law enforcement, is on the way to their home to arrest them for failing to satisfy a warrant, settle a debt, pay taxes, or for missing or ignoring a jury summons. The calls often are received from a "spoofed" number that may actually display as the correct office number on the caller ID. The caller will usually use a fictitious name and badge number (a recent caller identified himself as Lt. Jackson from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office). The con artist then tells the victim to call another number where they can satisfy the reason for the call, typically by paying over the phone via credit card, or in other variants, by sending money cards to an address.
Delco Sheriff Mary McFall Hopper wants county residents to know that her office will never ask for personal information, for payment of fines, or to settle warrants over the telephone. The scam is successful at times because the caller takes advantage of the victim's desire to comply with law enforcement and the courts.
In the meantime, anyone can call the Delaware County Sheriff's Office at 610-891-4296 if they have any concerns. Please note that the Sheriff's Office does not call or e-mail people to demand money or threaten arrest-ever. All official notices will come in the U.S. Mail on official stationery.
General tips to avoid becoming the victim of a scam:
Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.
Never give money, financial or personal information to someone with whom you have no personal ties and with whom you did not initiate contact.
Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that do not sound right, hang up.
Victims of telephone or online scams can file a complaint with their local police and report it to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov