New Scam Found In Auglaize County

By: 
TERESA DOWLING
Assistant Editor

There is a new danger to be on the lookout for that’s making an appearance in the area. According to a Facebook post from the New Knoxville Police Department there have been reports of a new scam targeting people in the county and local police departments are warning residents to be on guard.

The newest scam involves the caller stating they are from a bank and there is an issue with the victim’s account.

“They're convincing their victims to let them gain remote access to their computer,” New Knoxville Chief Chris McKinney said. “They somehow talk them into getting their bank information and the scammers are turning around and creating their own bank account. Then they reopen the victim's bank accounts and transfer money out of them.”

With free access to the victim’s online accounts, the scammers are able to do whatever they want with someone else’s money. Although there are only three reported victims at the time of this writing, the concerning matter for law enforcement is the damage that can be done and the complexity of the scam.

“It's very concerning,” McKinney said. “They're talking these people into remote downloading into their computer and you basically turn your computer over to them and they can get in and see everything you're doing. They get access to all your stuff and any personal information on it.

“They're posing as companies and things saying that they weren't paid for this or that and next thing you know, they've got you talked into getting into your bank account to transfer money and they're actually setting up fraudulent bank accounts while on the phone with you and you don't even realize it.”

Fighting back against scammers can actually be easier than people may think. Both McKinney and St. Marys Police Chief Jake Sutton had the same advice for the residents of Auglaize County — always remain vigilant while on the phone.

Sutton took it a step further and encouraged people who are suspicious to take control of the conversation.

“It's always best that if you have any doubt to take down a number, do your own research and then call them back to see if they're legit or not,” he said. “Legit places will not have a problem with you questioning what they're talking about, where scammers will.

“Scammers rely on putting the pressure on and try forcing people to act without thinking.”

With tax season just around the corner, both chiefs noted that IRS scams will likely pick up soon but the Internal Revenue Service has links on its website (IRS.gov) highlighting the differences between an actual IRS official and a scammer.

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service,” the website states. “However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

“Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called ‘notices’) from the IRS in the mail.”

As for calls or messages promising a grand trip, huge payout or other reward, a simple, common phrase is enough to guide decisions.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” McKinney said.

“It's unfortunate not everybody has the same morals and values that they should have,” Sutton added. “Always question. It's a good thing to question.”

Category: