SCAM ALERT (April 26, 2014)
Sheriff Ben Stewart shares information concerning continued recent “SCAM” activity and would like for all citizens to be aware that Scam activities are increasingly claiming more and more victims. Historically, criminals often worked alone and only seemed to target the elderly. However, times have changed and now most Scams are master minded by criminal groups who are highly organized, very tech savvy and have no limits to their target. Methods include falsely filing others income tax returns, calling claiming to be a Law Enforcement Officer or representing an official agency such as the IRS demanding the victim pay fines or penalties to avoid arrest, sending official looking documents claiming the victim owes fines or penalties. Most of these types of Scams require the victim to obtain a pre-paid type credit card and load the card with funds to remit as payment. These are just a few examples and do not even begin to scratch the surface.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office works hard to identify and publicize every type of Scam but as soon as the community is made aware of any one Scam the criminal organization will simply change their methods. With social media and the internet playing such a huge role in everyone’s daily lives it becomes hard to track the origin of the Scam or the criminals responsible. It is not uncommon for these criminals who target victims in our county to be located in other states or even in another country.
If you are contacted by phone, email or any other means claiming you will be held criminally or civilly liable unless you pay fines, fees or penalties please contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and request an officer to assist you in verifying if the claim against you is from a legitimate source. Do not respond to the demands and certainly do not be too quick to send any personal information or form of payment without first verifying the source of the claim. Make note of the phone number or email address that contacted you and then contact us and let us help. Avoid being an easy victim for these criminal groups
If you feel that you have been targeted by a Scam and even if you realized the attempt was a Scam please contact the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at 973-4001 or 973-4002. Your information may prevent your neighbor from becoming a victim as well.