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South Williamsport, PA
United States

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This Week’s LION: Scammer Stoppers

Sheriff Mark Lusk announced at the Lycoming County Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday, August 4th, to bring attention to a recent rise in an ongoing racket that has plagued our area — phone scammers. These professional deceivers call individuals at home, at work, or on their personal cell phones, and introduce themselves, saying, “I am with

Sheriff Mark Lusk announced at the Lycoming County Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday, August 4th, to bring attention to a recent rise in an ongoing racket that has plagued our area — phone scammers. These professional deceivers call individuals at home, at work, or on their personal cell phones, and introduce themselves, saying, “I am with the Lycoming County Sheriff’s Office, and we have warrants for your arrest. You are required to pay $5,000 immediately or face incarceration.”

The cause may be for failing to pay bail or failing to report to court, with failure to pay resulting in immediate arrest. If any protest is made, the caller will get indignant and begin to make threats. The caller directs the individual to a UPS store to send the money. At a minimum, the scammer is attempting to gain access to bank account information, PayPal type account numbers, or a personal credit card number.

Sheriff Lusk emphasizes that before taking any action of any kind, especially when it involves giving money or personal information, always call the agency that the individual purports to be representing to confirm. This would include the Office of Lycoming County Sheriff at 570-327-2280 or the Lycoming County Court Administration at 570-327-2330. Even if an individual receiving such a call knows it is a scam, it would be helpful to the authorities to call the sheriff’s office to inform them about it so they can continue to track these offenders.

Every area resident can help in safeguarding themselves and their family and friends from these scammers. Here are the guidelines to remember. First, under no circumstances should any personal information, credit card info, social security number, date of birth, bank information, etc. be given over the phone unless it is to someone that is personally known. Second, to better help track these creeps down, note the telephone number of the caller that is indicated (and never answer one that is ‘unknown’) and try to document the conversation as best as you can remember.

No matter how convincing these individuals might sound on the phone, Sheriff Lusk emphasized that this is NOT how the sheriff’s office conducts their business. Any residents who have already received calls similar to these described are requested to call the Office of Lycoming County Sheriff (570-327-2280) to report the calls. Anyone with concerns regards this type of activity is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s office as well.

These criminals are incredibly brazen and will literally attempt to extort from anyone. Sheriff Lusk noted at the Commissioners Meeting that he himself received a call from an individual claiming to be from the Lycoming County Sheriff’s Office and went into his spiel about a warrant. Lusk waited patiently to hear the imposter give his entire shtick, then calmly told the caller that he was talking to the Lycoming County Sheriff himself. The caller chuckled, and the phone quickly clicked off.

Tell your friends, relatives, and neighbors about this ongoing scam. These individuals are not necessarily from our area; some are even from foreign countries (and their accents betray them as such). They would cease to exist if people would simply ignore their threats and then report the call to the authorities. Spread the word — stop the scammers!

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