On Thursday, June 6, 2013 the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office received a phone call from a distraught citizen. The citizen reported that she had received a three way telephone call and one of the numbers on caller id indicated it was the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office. The caller identified himself as Sheriff Eric Williams. She was told, "…we are coming after you on a federal case!" The second number on the caller id was a number she recognized as belonging to someone to which she owes money.
While the citizen was speaking with a Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office investigator about the incident, she received a second phone call from that second number. She was able to allow our investigator to listen in on the phone call. The caller identified himself as Sheriff Williams. When he was confronted by our office about being Sheriff Williams, he became angry and hung up. The investigation is ongoing.
On Tuesday, June 12, 2013 the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office received a called from a concerned citizen. He reported that he received a phone call from a subject that identified himself as an employee of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office. He was given a phone number, case number, and the name of a person to contact with the FDIC. He was told, if he did not make contact with the FDIC and pay the money he owes, the Sheriff's Office would issue a warrant for his arrest. The gentleman then called the number he was given. He was told he needed to pay the FDIC or he would be arrested. The concerned citizen told him he didn't owe them any money. They exchanged some words and he hung up on him. This is a common scam and is documented.
"At the direction of the courts or the Indiana Department of Revenue, the Sheriff's Office does sometimes have a role in the collection of debt. However, that action will be proceeded by series of communications in writing via the United States Postal Service and or service of process, in person, by an identifiable member of the Sheriff's Office", said Sheriff Eric Williams. Sheriff Williams added, "Unfortunately no one is immune from being a target of a scam. In this particular case, the scammers attempted to use my name and position to perpetrate their crime."
If you are contacted by someone who is trying to collect a debt that you do not owe, or if the method of collection is unusual or suspicious, you can take a variety of steps, including:
1. Never provide any personal information or identifying numbers to anyone on the phone or via email you do not know to be legitimate.
2. Never use a call back number provided by a caller. Look it up yourself and call that number.
3. Report suspicious activity (of any nature) to your local law enforcement agency.
4. Trust your instincts. They may sound overly simple or even corny at times, but following these sayings often make the difference between being a victim of a scam or not. "When in doubt, check it out". "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
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