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Scam targeting Stark County residents addressed by Sheriff’s Office

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(File Image/The Dickinson Press)

On Tuesday afternoon the Stark County Sheriff’s Office became aware of a targeted scam aimed at residents of Stark County and Dickinson. According to The sheriff’s office the callers engaged in fraudulent attempts to obtain money by disguising themselves as representatives of the sheriff’s office. In response, a scam warning has been issued.

Stark County Sheriff Corey Lee said the department received two independent phone calls from local citizens concerning phone calls they received from a person or persons alleging to be members of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office seeking payment. Lee confirmed that the first individual was successful in evading the callers and contacting the sheriff’s office directly, but a second caller did provide the scammers with money.

“The Dickinson Police Department is looking into it at this point in time and investigating the matter, so hopefully they can get somewhere with it because the actual crime did occur in Dickinson,” Lee said. “We do not call and solicit for money, for fines or anything else for that matter. We would never accept payment over the phone for anything, so if people are getting those calls it is a scam 100% and hopefully we can educate as many people as we are able to about that.”

Lee stated the suspects are believed to be using a sophisticated dummy routing system which makes calls appear to originate from the SCSO, when they are not. Further complicating the investigation into the matter is that when victims attempt to call the number back, the scam actually forwards the call to the real sheriff’s office.

Here are tips to help from being scammed by telephone.

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Don't answer unknown callers. It is recommended to avoid unknown calls and entertain any unknown service provider that tries to sell services to you.

Do not confirm or deny your identity until you know who is calling. Legitimate calls will indicate who they are and where they are from.

Decide how to proceed depending on your comfort level after getting the information. After the caller has identified themselves, you have the option to (A) acknowledge yourself, (B) gather more information about the caller without identifying yourself, or (C) just hang up.

Never use affirmative responses until you know that the call is legit. Your affirmation may be recorded and used for fraudulent purchases.

Hang up, look up the number and call it back before proceeding with any further communications.

Related Topics: STARK COUNTYDICKINSON
Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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