In recent weeks, the Jerauld County Sheriff’s Department has received numerous reports from residents regarding calls to their home or cell phones from the IRS, Publisher’s Clearinghouse, law enforcement agencies from out of the area and even Jerauld County Sheriff’s Office.
All of these calls have one thing in common: each one represents a scam intent on stealing personal information and financial resources.
The Publisher’s Clearinghouse scam states that the individual has won a cash prize and a car. The caller then asks for money up front to claim the prize.
The IRS scam leaves messages stating that an individual’s taxes are delinquent and they must pay money to avoid being prosecuted and/or arrested.
“The IRS will always send a letter, and that letter has identifying case numbers and dollar amounts. It will also refer you to an address to submit payment and provides federal statute information as well,” said Jerauld County Sheriff’s Deputy Dawn Lake. “The IRS does not do collection calls. Ever. Period.”
Jerauld County Sheriff Jason Weber said that many residents have reported calls regarding warrants for an individual’s arrest, or bond money being requested for a family member. He said that his office does not call individuals regarding warrants and when someone is arrested, they will call personally if they are trying to get bond money.
“Please use caution when talking to anyone on the phone,” Weber said. “New scams surface daily and constantly evolve as the public becomes more educated, aware of the scammer’s intentions and the potential disastrous consequences of falling victim to a scam.”
The sheriff’s department reminds residents to never give out personal information like credit card numbers, bank account numbers, date of birth or social security numbers to someone over the phone or on Internet sites that are unfamiliar.
In addition to calls, scam solicitations have recently landed in residents’ mailboxes. Lake urges community members to be skeptical of anything that offers “a little for a lot” and not to send any form of payment to addresses that can’t be verified as a business address.
“Unfortunately, this is a time when you can’t trust everyone,” Lake said. “Thousands of lives have been changed, even financially devastated, by these scam artists.”
The sheriff’s department invites residents to call with any scam-related questions at 605-539-1311.