The Sierra Vista Police Department has received several reports from residents targeted by an apparent phone scam perpetrated by an individual posing as a law enforcement official with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.
The caller demanded money be sent electronically to satisfy a fine and, in at least one case, is believed to have “spoofed” the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office phone number. Spoofing a phone number is a technique that criminal organizations and individuals can use to make a caller ID show that the incoming call is from a number they assign to their phone when they make the call. Should an individual have any suspicion that a governmental number is being hijacked in this manner, he or she should contact a verifiable member of that organization before acting on any request from the caller.
The Sierra Vista Police Department and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office urge residents to use caution in all phone transactions and to never reveal personal information over the phone without confirmation that the person on the line is legitimate. In addition, residents are reminded that no law enforcement agency will contact them and ask for payment to be made using “green dot cards” or “gift cards” of any kind. While some governmental operations do accept credit card payments over the phone, none will call someone directly and solicit payment on a debt over the phone.
“If you receive such a call, hang up and call the law enforcement agency or governmental organization back to verify the call or, if it is indeed a scam, to report it,” says SVPD Public Information Officer Cpl. Tim Wachtel.