OXFORD – The Oxford Police Department released statements to inform members of the community of a recent wave of telephone scams that have resulted in identity theft and fraud.
According to OPD Chief Richard Nolan, these ‘phishing’ scams have been reported by residents and community members. He said they are “sophisticated” and “utilize social engineering to lure victims.”
In these recent instances, the fraud perpetrators have called victims or have left urgent messages under the guise that they represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a police department, or a technical support company such as Microsoft.
“The scammers are able to strategically develop elaborate stories, may provide false identification, and even spoof the caller ID to make the phone number match that of the actual agency the scammer is fraudulently portraying,” said Nolan. “Scammers will warn that payment is due for taxes, court fees, or that a vital service is required to remove vulnerabilities.”
The Chief offered the following tips to residents in order to avoid falling victim to a scam:
• In no instance will the IRS or a police department call and request payment over the phone nor will the IRS or police department threaten arrest, deportation, or that a warrant will be issued for lack of such payment. The IRS makes initial contact of payments due via mail.
• Similarly, Microsoft will not request payment information over the phone for technical services.
• Scammers may use public resources and other means to garner basic personal information about you prior to initiating a phone call in order to gain your confidence. Do not verify information that a scammer may already have access to.
• Do not provide your personal information or payment information in instances where you have not initiated the phone call. If you have reason to believe you may owe money, end the phone call, look up the official number for the agency, and call that number for further information.
• Do not provide your email address, download any software, or navigate to any website provided to you as a result of such calls. A scammer may take control of your computer with intent to steal personal information.”
Anyone who receives a phone call as described is encouraged to report the incident by calling the OPD at 843-2333 or by stopping into the department.