Phone scam uses family concern to trick victims

Phone scam uses family concern to trick victims

It’s a phone scam that tries to trick its victims out of their money by taking advantage of their trust in family members.

One Spokane Valley man saw right through it, but he’s worried others might fall prey to the ruse.

It wasn’t the first time Roger Clough had received this phone call.

“I got a call about a year ago with the same spiel and, at that time, I ran it to ground to find out what the story was and if it was real and I found out that it wasn’t, he said.

The caller claimed Clough owed money to Spokane County and if he didn’t pay, the sheriff would lock him up.

“At that point, I said this is a scam, please do not call me and I hung up on her,” he said.

Clough knew from experience- and he’s lucky. What happened next- might fool other potential victims.

“If you don’t pay attention to the first call shortly thereafter you get a call from a relative. In this case it was my son, Andy, who called about an hour later, got a hold of my wife and said ‘Dad’s in trouble,'” he said.

Clough was, in fact, not in any trouble. He called law enforcement to make sure of that. But, he understands how easy it could be to get tricked by the scam, if a family member that you trust warns you, too.

“‘Hey, you better do this because I’m worried about you,’ and then all of the sudden you get that pit of the stomach feeling and you go, ‘Oh my gosh, maybe I better,” he said.

Clough’s fear is that someone else in his community will buy into this scam and lose their money. He reached out to KXLY this morning in hopes of spreading the word.

His tip- do your own research.

If the scammers say which agency you owe, and give you a number to call or a website to check out , don’t use their information. Look up the agency online or in a phone book and call to check for yourself.

“If we can stop one person or several hundred people… from getting into this scam and getting caught, let’s do it,” Clough said.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office offers some helpful tips for avoiding scams below:

– “Reputable companies/organizations, government entities or law enforcement will NEVER call and threaten you and demand immediate payment. It’s a scam, don’t lose your money. Take a little time, do your own investigating, and verify everything before you send any money or provide your personal information.”

– “If you must pay to receive “winnings” or are promised large amounts of cash if you pay a fee, it’s a scam, don’t lose your money.”

– “Do NOT, for any reason, provide any personal or banking information over the phone to anyone you don’t know and trust 100% unless you instigated the call for your own reasons. Law Enforcement, Government or reputable business will NOT call and threaten/coerce you into buying prepaid credit cards, providing remote access to computers, or providing personal/banking information.”

– “Do NOT use the phone numbers or contact information the person on the phone is providing, look the information up yourself and make contact with known, published numbers. Do NOT give in to their threats and intimidation to make you do it “right now or else.”

If you receive a call that you think is a scam, report it to Crime Check by calling (509) 456-2233.