BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — When you pick up the phone be aware of who you’re talking to. That’s the advice from the Bluffton Police Department which is warning residents about phone scams.
“The scammer is very believable,” said Lt. Ryan Fazekas, Bluffton Police Department Investigator. “He will, he may even use a current officer’s name that actually works for the police department when he calls and contacts that victim.”
A phone call from an unfamiliar number should already put someone on alert. According to the Federal Trade Commission, last year scammers swindled more than $8.8 billion from Americans.
Now, police in Bluffton said scammers might target you.
“They’ll say something like the person missed jury duty and in order to get out of going to jail, they have to go purchase either a Bitcoin card, now is the new thing, or a green dot card,” Fazekas said.
Police say the scammers target elderly people because they believe they aren’t as tech-savvy as younger people. Also, they ask for Bitcoin or Green Dot cards because they are much harder to track.
Police say they’ll stay on the phone with a victim until they go to the store.
“Once the victim gives the scammer that Green Dot card number or that number on the back of the card, that money’s gone and it’s very difficult for us to try to track that down,” Fazekas said.
Mostly these scammers are in another state or in another country, making it harder for the Bluffton police to find and prosecute them. Police said that they would never call you asking for money.
However, if someone does call you claiming they are an officer, just simply hang up.
“I’ve been dispatched to a call where the scammer, they just happened to call back while we were there and he swore up and down he was my boss and he was ordering me to tell this person to pay this fine,” Fazekas said. “And again, they’re very believable, but it’s just not the case. We don’t do that at all.”
Bluffton police told News 3 three that these scams happen year-round but right now they’re ramping up. If you get a suspicious call, Bluffton police say you should report it to the police. The number you can call is 843-524-2777.