ATTENTION GATES MILLS RESIDENTS: Please read the media release below, issued by Franklin County Sheriff Zack Scott, regarding "Telephone Scam / Deputy Impersonation" incidents reported in the Columbus area. Unfortunately, these fraudulent calls have already been received by several Gates Mills residents this past week. Contact the Gates Mills Police Department immediately at 440-423-4456 if you're unsure of the legitimacy of any phone calls, or if you've responded to what you believe may have been a scam.
*****NEWS RELEASE FROM FRANKLIN COUNTY SHERIFF*****
Sheriff Zach Scott wants to again warn residents of Franklin County about a reported phone scam happening in your area. The Sheriff's Office is investigating over 12 alleged incidents where a call was received from a person fraudulently claiming to be a "Deputy Sheriff". In some of the cases, the caller/suspect indicated that he works for the "Franklin County Sheriff's Office" and identifies himself as a "Lt. Davis." In most of the calls the scammer demands payment for a fine. The fine ranges from $500.00 to $800.00 or face 30 days in jail. Some of the victims have called the number back that has been displayed on caller ID and reached an answering machine on which the recipient identifies himself as "Lt. Davis, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office". The scammer provides an address of 393 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio (this is not a legitimate address for the Sheriff Office).
In most of the cases the intended victims are told to load the money on a Green Dot card and give the caller the account information. The scammer will then quickly remove the money from the card before the victim can do anything to stop it. It is believed that these calls or scam are originating from a location outside the State of Ohio, in Georgia or Tennessee, while spoofing local telephone numbers with a 614 area code and/or 525 exchange.
Sheriff Scott says that anyone who receives a suspicious phone call or email from someone purporting to be affiliated with a law enforcement agency demanding that they pay a fine should take precautions. No one from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office would ever contact anyone and demand that they pay a fine or face jail time. The Sheriff's Office is currently investigating this scam, and residents should be reminded:
- Don’t respond to phone calls, emails, faxes or text messages warning of dire consequences if you don’t provide sensitive information immediately.
- Don’t provide personal information in response to an unsolicited phone call, email, fax or text message, no matter how legitimate it seems.
- Review your account transactions regularly and contact your bank if you find any unauthorized transactions.
- Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any demand for payment.
- If you think you have received such a call or scam, obtain the person’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, and mailing address. Remember, these con artists may give out false names, telephone numbers, or addresses, so you must verify the accuracy of these items.
- Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.