Sheriff discusses how to deal with scams

Scammers have not given up, and if anything, their tactics have grown more successful, as the Federal Trade Commission reported this spring that of the 1.1 million people who reported fraud in 2017, 21 percent said they had lost a total of over $905 million to scammers, $63 million more than the year before. The year’s top fraud was Imposter Scams, with nearly 350,000 reports. One in five people who reported an imposter scam lost money, totaling $328 million.

Butler County Sheriff Jason Johnson said his office deals with scams multiple times weekly, if not on a daily basis. Within the county, imposter scams and warrant scams are now most common.

In an imposter scam, a grandparent or parent receives a call that a child or grandchild, say “Jane,” has been arrested. The supposed police officer in another country or another state says Jane needs bail money to get out. They’ll even let the victim speak with Jane for a moment.

“It doesn’t matter who is on the other end—it’s a psychological thing—their head will convert to hear her voice since they want to hear it,” Johnson said.

Jane will say she needs perhaps $700 to get out of jail. The scammers sometimes even helpfully give directions to the closest Western Union. Scammers always hurry the victim to send the money as quickly as possible to get Jane out of jail.

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