Spokane County warns of new phone scams

By: 
Spokane County
Press Release

Investigators have received two reports of a new but similar SCAM that appears to be active in our community. Please, do not send your hard-earned money to anyone contacting you by phone until you independently confirm you are talking to a legitimate employee of the company.

Taking a little time may save you from losing a lot of money.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Detectives have reviewed two reports of scams where victims potentially lost thousands of dollars. Always independently verify the identity of the employee and business from phone contacts, especially ones that are unsolicited, before you send your money to potential scammers.

If you receive unsolicited phone calls or emails stating you owe money, or from people trying to sell you services, take the time to contact the company directly at phone numbers you looked up and verified. Any reputable company concerned for your wellbeing will understand your desire to make sure the transaction is legitimate.

One victim reported she received a phone call from “Austin Parker” (323-366-9465), who claimed he worked for a company called “360 Total Security.” He informed her that her McAfee Security for her computer was about to expire and wanted to know if she would switch to 360 Total. He stated they would refund the victim a prorated amount of $117 if she wanted to change, and she agreed.

“Parker” told the victim he accidentally sent her $117,777 and asked her to please refund the money with a cashier’s check. The victim went to her bank, obtained two checks totaling over $116,000, and sent them via UPS as requested.

Later, “Parker” called back, stating there was an issue receiving the checks and asked her to send another check for $79,670 via FedEx, and she complied.

The victim was later informed the $117,777, which showed as a deposit into her account, was fraudulent. The victim promptly closed her account. The bank is conducting a fraud investigation, but at this time, it appears the victim has lost the total amount of the checks she sent to the predatory scammer.

Another victim reported she received an email to renew her service agreement on her computer. She was told to fill out a form online, and she complied.

The “employee, Jeremy Jones” (712-372-5817) told her she accidentally sent them too much money. He stated he could not send her cash, but he would deposit $14,000 into her account. “Jeremy” then told her this was a mistake and to send “Alex” (309-324-2639) $10,000 via FedEx. She did as he requested.

The victim later found out this was a scam. She called the Attorney General’s Office, and they advised her to try and get the funds back, but the bank informed her it was too late.

These are just two horrible examples of victims being scammed of thousands of dollars by despicable predatory thieves. Unfortunately, once victims send money via cashier’s checks, electronic transfers, prepaid credit cards, etc. they are usually unable to get their money back.

These scammers are convincing, and their criminal acts must be profitable because law enforcement across the country continues to receive reports from people who have been duped. With untraceable/disposable cell phones, electronic transfers, and prepaid credit cards, these life-ruining thieves are almost untraceable, and more than likely, not from the local area or even the United States. These scams are federal crimes, but again, it is very hard, if not almost impossible, for federal agencies to identify the criminals and hold them accountable.

If you want to do business with a company that contacts you unsolicited, take down the company information and the employee’s name. Look up the company yourself and contact them directly using the number or email address you independently verified. Do NOT send money to anyone you have not independently verified, or you risk losing it all. If you have any doubt, contact your bank, a friend or family member, or anyone else you trust for assistance.

For more information regarding Common Scams and Frauds or to report incidents, please go to the usa.gov website. (https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds)

Report Telephone Scams

It’s important to report phone scams to federal agencies. They can’t investigate individual cases. But your report can help them collect evidence for lawsuits against scammers.

Report telephone scams online to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC is the primary government agency that collects scam complaints.

Report Banking Scams

The proper organization to report a banking scam depends on which type you were a victim of.

Report fake checks you receive by mail to the US Postal Inspection Service.

Report counterfeit checks to the Federal Trade Commission, either online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357.

Contact your bank to report and stop unauthorized automatic withdrawals from your account.

Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

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