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Phone Scams reach epidemic proportions

The Thomas Tribune of Thomas, Oklahoma

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Phone scams have reached epidemic proportions, says Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples.

In Custer County, calls from scams are really starting to cost county residents several thousand dollars, Peoples said. He warned folks to be vigilant and not give out any personal information to people or entities they are not familiar with or whom they did not contact.

Peoples and the Thomas Police Department have received multiple calls where scam artists pose as the Internal Revenue Service. The caller will leave a message stating the individual owes a large sum of money to the IRS and if they do not send payment they could be imprisoned in Washington D.C. A phone number will be left with more instruction and will ask for a payment to be made. Peoples said the caller is quite convincing. The IRS is not going to call by phone. Any business they do is by registered mail.

A new scam targeting Custer County is through the social media outlet, Facebook. "The 'Friends' section of Facebook has been hacked," the sheriff said. "People are receiving messages from a 'friend' telling them they've won the lottery but need to send in money to get their prize. They believe it is the 'friend' who is contacting them so they send in the money."

Actually, the person contacting them may be a complete stranger. Peoples said it is easy to find out by contacting the 'friend' by some other medium like the telephone.

"Do not notify the friend on Facebook. The hackers would simply answer back," stated Peoples.

People are also continuing to get calls about computer repairs. These scam artists pose as a repairman and try to gain access to your personal information on your computer, said the sheriff.

Another scam is where a relative is in jail needing money. The scam artists convincingly tells a sad tale about how they were taken into custody and are needing money for bail or some other reason.

Peoples urged county residents to "spread the word" and talk to friends or relatives who may not know of these dangers.



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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015



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