12/9/17 – The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office addressed a number of scams that have been seen in the area during a presentation to the public on Thursday evening near Mayville. Detective Theodore Sullivan detailed several phishing scams, and explained how to protect personal information and minimize risks. He says smart phones and tablets are one of the primary ways that scam artists are using to bilk people out of their hard-earned money.
Among the tips offered: locking computers when not in use; disconnecting from the internet when not in use and logging off of sites that use personal data instead of just closing the internet browser and updating software. Sullivan also encourages having strong passwords that do not include personal information and securing the list you keep of passwords.
Among the most popular phishing scams: conmen posing as the IRS, a credit card company or a law enforcement official saying that their child is in custody and needs bail. Sullivan also notes that a police officer will never call anyone and say their grandchild is in trouble. Other hoaxes include claiming to have an award, lottery winnings or settlement money. A red flag: any time you are asked to wire money, especially if it is an unsolicited call and the caller offers something too good to be true.
Sullivan encourages those who receive solicitations to collect as much information as possible and document everything. If you become a victim, contact your financial institution immediately and then call law enforcement. He says the best course of action for those who suspect they are being targeted by a scam artist is to ask the phone number of the unsolicited caller and say that you will have your attorney call them back. Finally, he says do not be embarrassed if you do become a victim. He recounted the story of a Columbia County Sheriff’s deputy whose parents were recently bilked out of $80-thousand dollars. Sullivan says anyone can become a victim of a scam.