“We’re running into it daily, monthly, it seems to be an everyday occurrence now through the sheriff’s office and the Jasper PD”. Those were the words of Lieutenant Scotty Duncan of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department and he’s talking about scammers. Duncan says that local law enforcement is dealing with the victims of telephone scams, and he says this illegal activity is at an alarming all-time high.

As the both the sheriff’s department and the Jasper Police Department do their best to warn people about these scammers, Duncan says law enforcement on the federal level has their hands full. Duncan said “We’ve actually visited with them on the federal side, those that work these cases, and we’ve been advised that sometimes they get anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 of these in a day. So, that’s the rate that these things are happening. That’s the problem that they’re having is there’s so much influx of these calls going on, but they are working with us to try to get as far ahead of this as we can”.

Just in the past week, Duncan says that at least three local residents have been scammed out of well over $1,000.00, and not only is there no end in sight, the scammers have upped their efforts.

According to Duncan, these scammers, usually operating in foreign countries, will “spoof” their phone numbers, meaning that your caller ID or your cell phone will show a local phone number, even though they may be calling from Nigeria or Pakistan or any handful of foreign countries, and some of which actually operate right in here in the United States as they scam our citizenry.

Duncan says they can even make your caller ID think that they are calling from a local business or even a local law enforcement agency. “They’re using local numbers, they’re using local names, they’re using local business names, they’re doing their research. They are researching the area, getting things that you know, that you recognize, that you might know, including the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and the Jasper Police Department”, said Duncan.

Duncan says that not only are the elderly at risk of being scammed by a scammer, but anyone else for that matter if you don’t keep your guard up, and he offered some tips to help you to protect yourself.

Duncan said “They’re going after the elderly, now they’re going after anybody. They’re lible to call and say ‘You’re vehicle warranty information is gone out’, ‘You may have a warrant for your arrest’, ‘You didn’t show up for this or that’. They’ll even identify themselves as a police officer”.

Duncan went on to say “We’re trying to figure out ways to protect our citizens. You know, the best thing is, if you don’t know the number (on your caller ID), don’t answer it. If they tell you something that you don’t trust, call the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office or Jasper Police Department, confirm what they’re telling you before you do any type of money, any type of cards”.

Duncan also warned of scammers who try to make you think that you’ve won something, “We all know that nobody’s going to give you money over the phone. Nobody’s going to give you cards over the phone. It takes just a quick second to confirm it. Do not give out information about your bank account to anybody that calls you on the phone. That is the best way to safeguard this. Just know, if they call and say ‘You’ve won this or you’ve won that’, call the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office or Jasper Police Department first, run it through us, and see if we can help protect y’all because that’s the only safeguard we have”.

Broadcast journalist & on-air personality - Rayburn Broadcasting Company - KJAS 107.3 FM in Jasper, TX and KFAH 99.1 FM in Pineland, TX