The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents that if they receive a phone call claiming to be from the office, it may be a scam.
Officers report phone calls claiming to be with the sheriff’s office are definitely a scam if they ask for money or payments of any kind. Scammers will usually tell the person on the other end of the line that they have a warrant for their arrest, and the only way to avoid being arrested is by paying a bond or stated amount.
The number that appears on your phone can be spoofed to look like it’s coming from a 269 area code, or could even be made to look like it’s coming from the sheriff’s office.
If you’re ever unsure about the legitimacy of a call from someone claiming to be law enforcement, hang up and then call your local law enforcement agency directly.
Below are some helpful tips to avoid falling victim to telephone scams:
• Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payments.
• Never give out personal or financial information to unsolicited callers, including: account numbers, social security numbers, passwords or other identifying information.
• Never wire money, provide debt or credit card numbers or Green Dot, Money Pak or Pre-Paid Credit Card numbers to someone you do not know.
• If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement or agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the call/request.
• Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t know. With spoofing becoming more common, question the number on the caller ID. Be cautious and verify the person on the other end of the phone.
• Don’t be afraid to tell the caller you know that it is a scam and you are reporting them to the police. Always share suspicious calls with a trusted friend, family member, or call local police if you feel you might have fallen victim to a scam.