Agencies warn of local fraud attempts

By Dean Wright - [email protected]

GALLIA COUNTY — The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office reports a recent string of scam callers pretending to be IRS officials.

“We have had several reports that someone is calling people claiming to be with the IRS and trying to steal money from our citizens, ” said Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning.

According to the sheriff’s office, reports say the callers can be convincing and even threaten individuals that law enforcement will show at the individual’s home and arrest said person if money is not quickly received. The sheriff’s office advises all people who receive such a call to hang up.

“We caution everyone about giving your information to someone over the phone,” Browning said. “Government agencies do not work that way.”

According to the sheriff, similar scam calls have been made in Lawrence County as well.

Should individuals have questions about what might appear to be a suspicious call, they are advised to contact their nearest law enforcement agency.

According Dee McCullough with Gallia County Adult Protective Services, it is not uncommon for scammers to call mature citizens in an attempt to steal their money.

One common technique involves scammers calling and pretending to be a prospective victim’s grandchild or loved one. The false individual then asks for money as they have supposedly landed in jail and need quick cash for a bailout. McCullough advises citizens to be cautious when listening to such requests as they may well be a ploy to relieve seniors of some quick cash.

McCullough also advised the public that scammers were also making use of Walmart Green Dot cards as a means of attempting to avoid a “paper trail” when attempting to enact a con. Green Dot cards are considered to be reloadable debit cards.

Potential victims in the past received what seems to be an award check, often one that is unexpected. Scammers then ask a victim to wire back a payment to cover some fabricated fees. A victim wires money and then the check they received will bounce.

Now, a new technique has surfaced in which scammers tell victims to purchase Green Dot MoneyPaks, often available at drug stores. These “packs” are used to fill a money card and its details are then given to the scammer who will quickly drain the card account.

McCullough advised mature citizens around the area to be wary of this technique as she has been encountering it in her day to day investigations.

Should citizens suspect they are victims of potential fraud, they should contact the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 446-1221.

Dean Wright can be reached a (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright

[email protected]