The Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department is issuing a warning to residents in reference to reported phone scams occurring in the county, according to a recent news release. The scam targets older victims on land lines and cell phones.

Recently residents have reported that they have received phone calls from subjects claiming to be a relative, usually a grandchild, who has either been involved in an accident or arrested. The victim is asked not to tell any other family members about their involvement or trouble. The caller, who may identify themselves as a police officer or government employee, request that the victim wire money via Western Union, Money Gram or purchase itunes cards from CVS, Walmart, etc. The caller also request that the victim call the caller back once the wire transfer is complete or to provide the information from the back of the itunes cards.

Callers have also identified themselves as employees of the IRS or social security administration who explain to the victim that there was an issue with the victim’s tax return or social security. The caller requests the victim provide one’s personally identifiable information including social security number, middle initial or date of birth. The caller is then asked to complete a wire transfer of moneys through Western Union, Money Gram or purchase itunes gift cards and provide the information on the back of the card as a form of payment to avoid any further “legal trouble”.

A third type of phone scam involves the caller advising the victim that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The caller requests that the victim again send money via Western Union or other means to quash the warrant.

Residents are urged not to send money via Western Union or purchase the itunes or money cards in these instances. Once the money has been sent by the victim, it is highly unlikely that law enforcement will be able to recover it. Residents are urged to contact family members or the police if one has any questions about suspicious callers.

Internet purchase scams have also been reported in which an item is sold far below marked value. Often the seller request that the buyer send money via Western Union or similar wire transfer. The seller will also offer to ship the item to the purchaser through a shipping company and request additional money that will be returned to the buyer upon delivery. The seller will also send official looking e-mails to the buyer that appear to be from E-bay motors, etc. during the transaction. Consult the IC3 website (http://www.ic3.gov) for additional details on internet scams.

If one has elderly family members, please share this information with them and explain what to do in the event that they receive this type of call.