ROCKY MOUNT, VA – Please be aware that a citizen recently reported receiving a phone call that showed up on caller ID as the “Franklin County Westlake Police Station” with a phone number of 540-719-9111. The caller was told that they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest, and they needed to post bond or be arrested. The victim ended up giving the caller their Social Security Number as well as their birth date. It is important to know that the Sheriff’s Office will not call you and ask for you to give personally identifying information over the phone. Never give out information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates or banking account numbers over the phone, especially if the person wanting the information called you.
Don’t become a victim of a scam. Contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and speak with a deputy before you send your money or give out your information if a deal seems to good to be true.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends 10 steps to avoid becoming the victim of a scam:
- Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a
family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out
personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a
phone call, or an email.
- Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with
words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your
situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have
reported them as scams.
- Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID
information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for
money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call
back to a number you know is genuine.
- Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things
like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say
you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take
the money and disappear.
- Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some
payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram
is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable
cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit or Vanilla. Government offices and honest companies won’t
require you to use these payment methods.
- Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone
you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you.
Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and
report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to
speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for
products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research
the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for
charges you don’t recognize.
- Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited
checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you
deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice
about scams sent right to your inbox.