Courthouse impersonator targets local in phone scam

A local man was contacted by an unknown scamming entity claiming to be calling from a Courthouse out of state.

By Brooke Curley

SAFFORD – Don’t be scammed, always check before you send money.

The target of a vicious phone scam called the Safford Police Department on Tuesday to report that he was targeted by a police-impersonator. According to the Safford Police report, the victim alerted police after he received the scam call that morning. An unknown male subject told the Gila Valley resident that he was holding the individual’s grandson under arrest. The alleged scammer reportedly demanded money in exchange for his grandson’s release.

After hanging up with the scammer, the resident was able to contact his grandson. After confirming that his grandson was not under arrest, the resident contacted the Safford Police Department. A police officer called the number that the scammer left behind, and the scammer identified himself as being an employee for a court house located in Delaware. Other than this, the male scammer refused to give out a name and promptly hung up on the police officer.

Do not be fooled by this phone scam. According to the Truecaller/Harris survey, phone scammers cost the American public approximately $8.6 billion dollars annually. According to statistics, men are more likely to be fooled by a phone scam than women. In 2015, approximately twenty-seven million Americans were victimized by phone scams. If you suspect a phone scam, always call the local police department to be sure that you are not being conned.

Ways to Avoid Phone Hoaxes

  • Always do your research first. Before you give your information, money, or any valuable information of any sort, call the police or do an online search. Google the company or product name with words like “Review” “Complaint,” or “Scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes the situation.
  • Spot the impostor. Sometimes scammers pose as a government official, family member or charity. Don’t send money or give any personal information as a response to an unexpected request via text, phone call, or e-mail.
  • Do not believe your caller ID. Technology is easily thwarted in this day and age. Scammers can easily fake caller ID information. If someone calls asking for personal information or money, hang up.
  • Do not pay for a promised reward. If they ask for money advances in debt relief, loan offers, mortgage assistance, jobs or prizes in exchange for rewards, it is a fraudulent scam.
  • Think about the way they are asking you to pay them. Credit cards usually have fraud protection. However, Western Union, or MoneyGram is a risky money movement because it has no fraud insurance.
  • Hang up immediately on recorded calls. Recorded sales pitches are almost always scams.