CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens across the Kanawha Valley about three significant scams going around that are costing people thousands of dollars.
Sheriff Mike Rutherford held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the scams and to warn people that if something seems too good to be true, it propbably is, and to be wary of anyone asking for money.
“Whenever you have something that pops up all of a sudden or somebody gives you something, please check on it,” Rutherford said. “Call your local police department, call the agency that it represents. In other words, call a legitimate Verizon number, not what’s listed as part of the scam.”
One of the scams does involve Verizon and other wireless carriers. The scam involves receiving a text message allegedly from your service provider instructing you to call a number provided. When victims dial the number they’re asked to key in their PIN.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, once the scammer receives the PIN, they then use the login information to get into your account online and order equipment. Once ordered, the scammers have contacted the victim and explain the equipment was shipped in error, and ask it to be returned or picked up by the scammers.
That’s when a person will still be charged for new equipment, like phones, and the scammers will have taken them.
Another scam involves a letter allegedly from the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office’s Tax Division.
The letter asks a person to send money immediately, in what resembles nearly word for word an actual letter from the office.
“These are fake, do not send money to these people. Do not have any dealings with them. If you have anything that is in reference to taxes being owed to any county, contact that tax office,” Rutherford said.
A third scam that has hit parts of the Kanawha Valley involves victims unexpectedly receiving checks. Scammers have been sending checks for around $2,500 to random people, acting as a trucking company in Pennsylvania.
Rutherford said when people go to cash the checks, they lose money from their account.
He added that scams happen all year but there is a rise around the holiday season.
“People are so distracted trying to get Christmas presents and get ready for the holiday season. You get a call and just want to get it out of the way. We do see an uptick in cases this time of the year.”
The Sheriff’s Office is warning all citizens to be vigilant and safe and independently verify any information when you may think its a scammer.