SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Residents in Sierra Vista are reporting an apparent phone scam, where a caller is posing as a law enforcement official with the Cochise County Sheriff's Office, according to the Sierra Vista Police Department.
According to a news release from SVPD, the alleged scammer demanded money be sent electronically to satisfy a fine and in at least one case the person has '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.
If anyone has a suspicion that a governmental number is being hijacked in this manner, they should contact a verifiable member of that organization before acting on any request from the caller.
Both the SVPD and the CCSO are urging residents to use caution in all phone transactions, and remind them they should never reveal personal information over the phone without confirmation that the person on the other end of the phone is legitimate.
As an additional reminder, no law enforcement agency will contact an individual and ask for payment to be made using a "green dot" or "gift" card of any kind.
While some governmental operations do accept credit card payments over the phone, none will call an individual 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," SVPD Public Information Officer Cpl. Tim Wachtel says.