Cochise County authorities warn about new phone scams

Cochise County authorities warn about new phone scams
(Source: KAIT-TV via ABC/NBC)

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said it has learned about three new scams and wants to share the following information.

To begin with as a reminder for telephone safety tips:

  1. If someone calls and asks "Can You Hear Me?" PLEASE hang up. This question is to get an answer from you such as "YES" which they can then use to access personal information from you or place orders as if you have consented.
  2. DON’T call back a number you don’t recognize. If it is important, they will leave a message or call back. If you call back first, it gives the scammer the idea that you are a good “Victim”.
  3. Don't ever send money to anyone who calls (even it if sounds real) by paying with a Green Dot, Google or other pre-paid card.
  4. Don't believe that the IRS, Sheriff's Office, or credit card company will "come arrest you" if you don't pay for whatever they are scamming. HANG UP!

SCAM 1

An automated message is received that is a ROBO voice message with very poor grammar stating that "This is Sprint and you have won a $50 gift card for being a loyal sprint customer for the past 24 months. (the reporting person was not a Sprint customer) The caller then asked for the account number, the phone number, the last four of the social security number, and mailing address. RESULT: Potential victim did not respond and hung up!

SCAM 2

Two separate reporting parties (One from Sierra Vista and a Second one from Dragoon) advised that they were contacted at their homes by a male subject who wanted to have the women have chip/seal work done at the home. Both women described the encounter with the men being told they were not interested, with the Sierra Vista potential victim advising that the man became verbally aggressive and almost insisting on the work being done. The Dragoon potential victim advised that the man was polite but wanted to get a promise for work to be done. This scam comes in varying time frames with the same result, the criminal wants money “up front” for materials then puts down some gravel and disappears without the job being done and a fraud being perpetrated. DONT talk to anyone going door to door selling anything! This puts you in danger of losing money, but more importantly the potential for you to be physically harmed!

SCAM 3

Two separate registered sex offenders in Cochise County were contacted via phone and a name was provided as Sergeant Ken Cole with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office. One of the offenders was advised that he had two outstanding criminal citations regarding his sex offender registration with an outstanding debt of $2,475.00. The caller advised that these fines needed to be paid immediately with five separate “Google Play” gift cards.

The victim was unable to purchase the full amount but did purchase one gift card for $200.00. The victim revealed the account code on the back and took a picture., before sending the picture of the account number to the individual who replied by stating this whole process was a fraud. The return text message the victim received stated, "I apologize sir but this was a scam... Truly I'm sorry... To get your funds back file a report with the local law enforcement agency and a copy for you financial provider and that it was a fraudulent activity and you will get it back I promise. Again I am sorry for real. Have a nice night". The number the text message was sent from had been forwarded to a mailbox claiming to be the Cochise County Sheriff's Office.

The second investigation was similar circumstances, and it is currently unknown if the victim sent any money to the person posing as a Sheriff's Sergeant. This caller advised the registered offender that his registration "did not go through and there was now a warrant for his arrest that he could take care of by purchasing Google Play Cards to pay the fine".

Each of these cases remain under investigation, and anyone experiencing any similar criminal activity is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 520-432-9500.

Bottom line: HANG ON to your money, HANG UP on the criminal!