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The Scioto County Sheriff's Office is warning people about a phone scam in which the caller attempts to get personal and banking information.
"In the last week, we have received five phone calls so far," said Detective Denver Triggs. He said a male caller tells them is is from a legitimate company like Sears or Visa and is trying to update their account information.
"He already has their name and address, but that information is commonly available if a phone number is listed in the phone book," he said. "You can go online and get a listing for any city in the United States."
The caller then goes on to ask for credit card numbers and expiration sates, bank account numbers, social security numbers and dates of birth.
"People need to know that although legitimate companies will contact you via the mail, they will let you make contact with a Sears store in your area," Triggs said.
He added that one of the callers left the number of a Sears store and when he was called by detectives, no one knew anything about updating files.
"As far as we know it isn't a local caller, all numbers that were used track back to other cities," Triggs said.
In the case of the person saying they were calling from Sears, the phone number originated from Chicago, which is where the company headquarters is located.

Marty V. Donini, Sheriff
Scioto County Sheriff's Office
1025 Sixteenth Street
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662

Civil Division........740-355-8269

E-Mail scso@sciotocountysheriff.com


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"It's pretty easy to just go in and ask to borrow a phone," Triggs said.
He said with a checking account number and a routing number, the callers can get online and use it to buy items. He said when legitimate companiescall, they only ask for the last four numbers of a credit or debit card.
"Never, never give your personal information out on the telphone or on the Internet," Triggs said. "If you're on the Internet, a secure box will pop up to let you know it's legitimate."
Triggs also warned about buying items on the Internet auction sites if the seller is in another country.
The Sheriff's Office has recetnly received complaints from one person who bought a $2,000.00 car part from a seller in the United Kingdom and from several people who bought items from a seller in Nigeria.
"We cannot investigate any crimes that happen in another country even if it is against our citizens," Triggs said, adding there is no treaty with those countries. "Even if we knew who it was and exactly where they are, we have no way to arrest them."
"Most of the time these items don't even exist and it seems to be a really good deal," Triggs said. "You know the old saying, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Anyone with information concerning the telphone scam can contact Detective Trigss at (740) 355-8523.

MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, Ext.235.

As reported in:

March 14, 2005
Locals targeted in telephone fraud scam