Recent phone scam involves spear phishing

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about the latest scam, involving an employee.

The scammer is identifying himself as Lt. Tim Myers, a real employee of the sheriff’s office.

“It’s very concerning,” explained Myers. “If people see me on the news, since I do the public information for the sheriff’s office, they might think this is a legitimate thing.”

Some victims received phone calls demanding immediate payment for unpaid fines or unsatisfied warrants usually related to the false allegation of missing jury duty.  Other victims received phone calls soliciting monetary donations for the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Robbin Deel was contacted on May 21. The scammer said she missed jury duty and had to pay a fine, or else the sheriff’s office would issue a warrant for her arrest.

“The sheriff’s office doesn’t collect money by phone,” said Myers. “Anytime you receive a phone call from a person like myself, or law enforcement, you can always call our number back and verify that.”

KSN’s Amanda Aguilar spoke to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) about the recent scam. It’s called “spear phishing.”

Denise Groene, BBB state director, said spear phishing isn’t common in Kansas. She expressed concerns about the tactics involved with the scam.

Unlike other scams, spear phishing targets people and sometimes includes specific details to gain the victim’s trust.

“It is concerning whenever scammers go through more lengths to add that layer of trust in their communications,” said Groene.

Spear phishing can be dangerous for consumers.

“If what that caller is saying is true and find that to be factual, or what they believe is factual, they’re more likely to believe the caller,” Groene said. “It is going to lead them to believe what they’re saying, and in this case, possibly send some money.”

According to Deel, the scammer knew her address and birthday.

“That’s why I listened a little bit longer,” Deel said.

How do you determine if the phone call is legitimate?

Groene recommended doing your own research.

For Deel, she called the jury clerk and the sheriff’s office to verify it was a scam.

Myers said none of the victims sent money.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case. If you have been a victim of this scam call the local law enforcement agency in your jurisdiction.

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