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Sheriff’s office warns of potential scams

Editor’s note: The Nye County Sheriff’s Office released a lengthy warning on various scams currently plaguing residents, especially targeting seniors. We were unable to publish the full warning today, but will have the remainder in next Wednesday’s edition. Visit www.pvtimes.com to read the full story today.

There is a rash of fraud schemes being used by would-be criminals every day and the Nye County Sheriff’s Office urges valley residents to heed caution.

Although many of the would-be scammers sound like they’re from a legitimate association of business, if it sounds fishy or too good to be true, it likely is just that.

Here are some of the basics of the most common scams being pulled on people each day.

Jury Duty Scam

The intended victim receives a phone call from someone identifying himself or herself as either a law enforcement officer or court bailiff, accusing the victim of having “missed jury duty” and demands an immediate payment over the phone by prepaid credit card or wire transfer in order to avoid a fine or arrest.

Please be aware that neither law enforcement nor the courts will call the public to “demand” payment of a fine for missing jury duty or threaten with an arrest for such a violation.

IRS Scam

The intended victim receives a call from someone identifying himself or herself as an agent from the Internal Revenue Service and accuses the person of being delinquent in their federal tax payments.

The suspect then threatens the person with serious fines or arrest unless an immediate payment via prepaid credit card or other fund transfer methods is made.

Please be aware that the IRS does not usually call the public to demand payment for delinquent tax payments but rather contacts the public in writing.

It is recommended the public call the IRS Customer Service at 1-800-829-1040 if such a call was received and to confirm current tax status.

Free Money Scam

The intended victim receives a call from someone identifying themselves as someone from a number of “official” organizations, agencies or other entities and informs the victim that they have either won a substantial cash prize or are eligible for cash refunds, or “free grant” money from the government.

The fabricated information varies widely and is often targeted at seniors with limited income. The suspect usually instructs the victim to send him or her a “handling fee”, “taxes”, “shipping insurance” or other payment as a condition before the intended victim will be able to cash in on the “prize” or “grant money.”

The suspects often provide their phone numbers, email addresses and other information to convince the intended victim that they are legitimate.

Please keep in mind that fraudsters are very resourceful and almost any information they provide can be fabricated to assist in covering up the suspect’s true identity.

The most common method by which scam suspects often ask their victims to send them money is through Western Union transfers.

the Nye County Sheriff’s Office invites residents to call them anytime at 775-751-7000.

Social Media Scam

Despite social media’s widespread popularity among the public, websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are riddled with fake accounts. Many of those are often operated by individuals who aim to contact and befriend the victim and eventually attempt to gain personal information and demand money under the guise of various false stories and reasons.

Please keep this in mind during online activities:

Don’t accept anyone as a “friend” that you have not met in person or know personally. Even if you receive such a “friend request,” assume that it might be a fake profile and contact this person by other means to confirm that they have indeed contacted you online and requested access to your profile. Do not send any personal information to someone you do not know personally.

Craigslist Scam

Websites such as www.craigslist.com are designed for the public to sell items, property and services from all over the United States. Scammers utilize such websites to advertise various items for sale, such as cars, motorcycles, boats and even real estate. Sadly, in many cases, the advertised items either don’t exist, the “seller” doesn’t actually have nor own them or has no intention of shipping the item to the victim.

The intended victim contacts the “seller” through email or other means and is often provided with photos or other fabricated “proof” that the advertised item is for sale. The “seller” usually demands an upfront payment, down payment or shipping fee before the item for sale “can be shipped.” The payment is often demanded in the form of wire transfer, money order or mailed cash and the eventual destination of the payment is set up so as to hide the true location of the unidentified suspect, who usually fails to ship the item and is never heard from again.

Internet Virus Scam

The intended victim receives a call from someone who identifies himself or herself as a representative from an Internet service provider or computer manufacturer and tells the victim that their computer is infected by a virus or requires an immediate “internal scan” or upgrade.

The scammer then asks the victim for their computer’s password and advises he/she will remotely access the victim’s computer to fix whatever the fabricated problem is. During the course of the conversation, the scammers will continue to obtain all types of other personal information from the victim, including social security numbers, bank account and routing numbers, debit card/credit card, pin and security code information and much more.

Most of the aforementioned scams have been operated for years, but scammers continue to find new victims daily.

They sound convincing and are able to pull their scams off successfully every day. In the majority of cases, the scam artists are located in different parts of the country and often in another country.

Although the Nye County Sheriff’s Office is committed to investigating each reported case, it is difficult to identify the actual suspect in these cases due to the anonymity the Internet and computer technology.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office wishes the public to be safe and not fall prey to scams and other forms of fraud. As such, we ask the public to be vigilant and skeptical of anything that “sounds too good to be true.”

Before agreeing to turn over any personal information or sending any money to someone you are unsure about, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office invites residents to call them anytime at 775-751-7000.

Deputies and detectives will be glad to respond or call back anytime and assist you in determining whether you are safe or are a target of a potential scam.

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