Sheriff Craig Webre is once again warning residents of telephone scams in which callers are asking for personal information, especially bank or credit card information. Sheriff Webre reminds residents to NEVER give any personal information over the phone when you do not initiate the call. Always try to verify the callers identity.
In the most recent scam reported to the Lafourche Parish Sheriffs Office, a Bayou Blue woman received a call and was threatened with going to jail if she did not pay on a loan of which she had no prior knowledge. Last week, the woman received a call from someone claiming to be representing a law firm. The caller indicated to the woman that she owed $1,200.00 on a loan. When the woman said she was unaware of such a loan and asked for more information about it, the caller said they could not give out that information, but if she gave her debit card information, they could deduct the past due amount. The woman refused stating she would not give any information until she saw paperwork or was provided with more information. The caller told the woman she would go to jail if she did not pay, but the woman continued to refuse.
The woman was then contacted by someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer but did not specify a specific agency. The caller claimed that if the $1,200.00 was not paid today, a warrant would be issued for her arrest, and she would go to jail. At this point, the woman agreed to pay and gave her debit card information. The $1,200.00 was subsequently deducted from her account, and several attempts were also made to deduct an additional $1,000.00, but the bank stopped the transactions from taking place.
Sheriff Webre noted that this scam is of particular interest due to the fact that the caller was allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Anyone calling you for legitimate debt collection should not be threatening you with jail time, said Sheriff Webre. Defaulting on a loan would be a civil matter, and would be handled through the court system before any law enforcement agency would get involved. The Sheriff also added that if a bank or collection agency contacts you about owing money, they will always be able to supply you with further information about the loan in question. Residents should ALWAYS be suspicious of callers who try to conceal information of that nature in any way.
With the holiday season approaching, residents should also be aware that scammers can also pose as charities seeking for a donation. Any legitimate charity will allow you to hang up and call back at a later time after verifying their information.