Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office warns of financial scams

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Editor

LINCOLN COUNTY – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens of numerous financial scams that have occurred in the area recently.

Citizen receives call from ‘Lincoln County Police Department’ asking for money

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday, June 16 that it had been notified by a local citizen who had received a call from the “Lincoln County Police Department” asking for money. The Sheriff’s Office said the number, 715-257-3061, appears to be from Athens, Wis.

“Please be advised that the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is not calling citizens asking for financial assistance,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “If you receive a call such as this, please disregard the call and hang up.”

TextNow scammer asks club secretary for Walmart gift cards

According to the Sheriff’s Office, another citizen reported that they had received a text message from a TextNow number, 715-877-5924. TextNow is a free calling and texting app.

The caller identified themselves as a member of a local club that the target victim is secretary of. The target victim was asked to purchase three $400 gift cards from Walmart for the club’s other board members as a “kind gesture,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

The caller told the target victim to obtain the cards and text the card numbers and security codes to the caller.

The target victim refused the caller’s request.

The Sheriff’s Office said an investigating deputy discovered that the club has a website which features each officer’s name and phone number.

Town of Corning woman victim of ‘grandma scam’

The Sheriff’s Office said on Sunday, June 14 that a Town of Corning woman had fallen victim to what is known as the “grandma scam.”

The woman was contacted on Monday, June 8 by a female posing as her granddaughter and a male claiming to be “Mark Stevens” posing as an attorney. The male told the victim her granddaughter was arrested for OWI following a crash in Bethlehem, Pa., and needed $7,500 for bail money. The victim sent the money by Fed-Ex overnight express, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The male called the victim again the following day and requested an additional $12,800 for medical costs and settlement fees. The victim refused, and later learned her granddaughter was unharmed and never left the state.

Fischer: Scams are common locally, nationwide

Lieutenant Timothy P. Fischer of the Sheriff’s Office said financial scams are “quite common” not only locally, but around the country, noting that he estimated several scams happen in Lincoln County every year.

Fischer said most scam calls originate from out of state or overseas.

“You do have the occasional on-scene scammers, such as black top installers or home repairs,” he added.

The scammers are almost never caught, and the stolen money is seldom returned to the victim.

“The victim’s bank or credit card company may work with them, but as far as getting the money back from the scammer themselves, (it) is very rare,” he said.

Fischer said if a caller requests money in form of cards from a big box store, such as Walmart or Best Buy, it is a scam.

“If the scammer is pretending to be a relative, get a name and phone number, end the call, and contact family to verify what they were told,” he stated. “When it is learned that the person in question is safe, do not call back. Report the incident to law enforcement.”

If a person knows they’re being scammed, they can try to obtain a name and phone number from the caller, “but typically the phone numbers used are ghost numbers and will not accept incoming calls,” Fischer said.

“Please be wary of any unsolicited calls regarding a request for money,” the Sheriff’s Office stated. “Potential scammers are constantly trying new tactics to steal money from unsuspecting victims.”

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