WATSEKA — The Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to residents Wednesday in reference to reported phone scams occurring in the county. The scams target the elderly on land lines and cell phones.
In one of the scams, the caller says he or she is a relative, usually a grandchild, who has either been involved in an accident or arrested. The victim is asked not to tell any other family members about their involvement or trouble. The caller, who may identify themselves as a police officer or government employee, requests that the victim wire money via Western Union or Money Gram, or purchase iTunes cards from CVS or Walmart, for example. The caller also requests that the victim call the caller back once the wire transfer is complete or to provide the information from the back of the iTunes cards.
In another scam, callers have identified themselves as employees of the DEA, IRS or Social Security Administration. They explain to the victim that there was an issue with the victim’s tax return or Social Security benefits or that the victim’s identity has been stolen. The caller requests the victim provide personally identifiable information, including Social Security number, middle initial or date of birth. The caller is then asked to complete a wire transfer of money through Western Union or Money Gram or to purchase iTunes gift cards and provide the information on the back of the cards as a form of payment to avoid any further “legal trouble.”
A third type of phone scam involves the caller advising the victim that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The caller requests that the victim send money via Western Union or other means to quash the warrant.
Residents are urged not to send money via Western Union or purchase the iTunes or Moneypac cards in these instances. Once the money has been sent by the victim, it is highly unlikely that law enforcement will be able to recover it or identify the suspects. Residents are urged to contact family members or the police if they have any questions about suspicious callers.
Internet purchase scams have also been reported in which an item is sold far below market value. Often the seller request that the buyer send money via Western Union or similar wire transfer. The seller will also offer to ship the item to the purchaser through a shipping company and request additional money that will be returned to the buyer upon delivery. The seller will also send official-looking emails to the buyer that appear to be from E-bay Motors, etc., during the transaction. People can visit the IC3 website — www.ic3.gov — for additional details on Internet scams.