Authorities remind residents to not forward money or gift cards

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

The county Sheriff Office again reminds residents of Otter Tail County, particularly senior citizens, of the need to continue to be vigilant and not become scam victims.

As for phone calls from scammers, never forward money or purchase iTune cards when a scammer says you need to send money to fix a computer problem or get a grandchild out of jail. 

If a computer is locked up, don’t respond to scammers who try to blackmail victims. Instead, use control, alt delete or use the shutoff button. 

After restarting your computer, you should be back to normal. If not, contact your computer advisor or call the county Sheriff Office at (218) 998-8555.

A new trick used by scammers is to use the phone number of a friend or relative of a potential victim. If you don’t recognize the voice of the friend or relative, hang up.

Scam artists can “spoof” caller ID information with local phone numbers to make it look like the calls are from a nearby person or business. While the caller’s information may appear to be local, the calls are in fact placed by the scam artists who oftentimes are located out of state. 

If something seems too good to be true it probably is untrue, emphasize county deputies. An example is when a caller says you have just won a prize of $5,000, but in order to claim the prize money you need to send $250 for handling fees. This is a scam attempt.

Phone call scams and computer scams can be avoided if county residents remain cautious and don’t fall for scare tactics. 

Never click on questionable email attachments. 

People who say they are from the IRS more often than not are scam artists who are nasty on the phone and make threats. Real-life IRS staff people who are legitimate send inquiries through the mail. 

Be careful when making transactions through Craigslist, eBay or Facebook Market Place. 

One trick by scammers is to forward a check for over the amount of purchase, an example being $300 instead of $200. The scammer tells the seller to forward $100 but later on the original check bounces and the victim is out $100. 

Make sure a check clears before sending the item to a buyer.