Why Phone Scams And E-mail Phishing Won't Go Away

  • 1/10/2019 7:44:39 PM
  • Jenna Ramolt
  • Local News

RICHLAND COUNTY, OH - The Richland County Sheriff's Office deals with a wide variety of crimes, but a very common one that is surprisingly difficult to fight is phone and e-mail scams.

Nearly everyone gets phone calls claiming that they owe the IRS money, or have won a luxurious trip to the Bahamas. E-mails from unknown addresses asking for banking information or passwords are common. These scams can be reported to local law enforcement, who can warn the community and work with other agencies to find the perpetrator. However, the person behind the scam often remains a mystery, usually due to geography.

The Sheriff's Office covers about five hundred square miles, which includes eighteen townships and nine municipalities. They have jurisdiction there, but the problem is the scammers are not usually anywhere near Richland County. In fact, according to Sheriff J. Steve Sheldon, they are frequently outside of the United States.

"Whatever scam they're pulling, they're not even in this country, so for us to follow up on it is very difficult," Sheriff Sheldon said. "We partner with other agencies and we partner with the government and we try to do the best we can. So the best thing we can do is educate people, and have them not send anybody money and not give anybody their personal information."

They educate the community through public announcements when scams appear to be circulating and through publicly available materials, like the Richland County Sheriff's Guide To Community Safety, a 22-page magazine distributed in 2016. Distance from the perpetrator may make an arrest difficult, but luckily these cases are easier to prevent than they are to solve.

The Sheriff recommends that you never give your personal information to anyone you don't know and trust, especially when it comes to bank accounts and social security numbers. If someone on the phone is asking you for money, it's probably a scam, and there are ways for you to report it. Local law enforcement will take a scam report, as will the official web site of the Ohio Attorney General.

Sheriff Sheldon continued, "We want to be trusting and we want to be there for each other, but there are so many scam artists out there that we want everybody to be careful."

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