One of the best ways to fight crime is to be proactive and educate yourself so you do not become a victim of a crime. I often take the opportunity to use the “Sheriff’s Corner” to make you aware of trends in crime that we are experiencing or that has been experienced in neighboring jurisdictions surrounding Dinwiddie County. Criminals do not know jurisdictional boundaries and it may be just a matter of time before what is happening in other places is happening here.
One of the most common crimes these days is those who try to steal your hard-earned money, financial records, and identifying information. These criminals usually victimize you without ever setting foot in Dinwiddie County. They do their dirty work by way of the telephone, email or traditional mail. Because of the long distance factor associated with the cases it makes it almost impossible to identify a suspect or make an arrest. Being alert and educated is the best defense.
Recently we have received calls from citizens concerned about phone calls that they have received, where the threat of arrest or the involvement of law enforcement has been made by the callers.
In one instance, citizens are reporting that they are receiving a computer-generated call where the voice on the other end of the call states that the call is from United States law enforcement and there has been a warrant issued for your arrest. If you do not call the number that is provided right away, you will be arrested. The caller even gives a specific time that law enforcement will arrive to arrest them. A number is given to call to receive instructions on how to avoid getting arrested. If you do talk to an actual person, you will be asked to send money or account numbers from gift cards.
A similar automated call that is represented as coming from the Social Security Administration. The recording states that your Social Security account has been suspended and you need to call the number given as quickly as possible to resolve this issue. Just as the previous scam, money to sent to the caller will stop any action against you.
The Social Security Administration or most any law enforcement agency or any other government agency will not contact you by phone. They will not contact you by automated call. They will send you a letter with a number for you to contact them.
If you receive one of these calls or letter, email or text message from someone you don’t know, here are some tips to help keep your information secure:
- Be suspicious if a business, government agency, or organization asks you to click on a link that then asks for your username or password or other personal data. Instead, type in the web address for the organization or call them. The link in the email may look right, but if you click it you may go to a copycat website run by a scammer.
- Be cautious about opening attachments. A scammer could even pretend to be a friend or family member, sending messages with malware from a spoofed account.
- Set your security software to update automatically and back up your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up your files regularly and use security software you trust to protect your data.
If you have any questions, about these scams or any other contact you have that you feel is suspicious or may be a scam, give us a call here at the Sheriff’s Office before you respond back to them or send any money. We will investigate it and advise you on what to do.