On Aug. 30, the West Liberty Fire and Ambulance department warned community members about people using their name in a scam.
The post said “We have been notified of people receiving text messages asking them to support some of our area Fire Departments by clicking a link to buy T-Shirts. We will never ask you to provide personal or financial information via phone or text link. If you ever have concerns please contact your local fire department or one of its members directly.”
West Liberty Police Chief Eric Werling said he hasn’t heard a lot about this scam but is sad to hear it’s happening, especially when all people want to do is support an organization.
“This is a newer one,” Werling said.
Werling has some tips for people to help them avoid being scammed.
“My first suggestion would be if you get a solicited phone call don’t give any information out,” Werling said. “They can tell you that they're your medical provider, insurance company, trying to raise money for your local p.d. – don’t give any information out.”
If you want to donate to a local organization, Werling suggest you do it in person and not over the phone.
If it’s someone saying they’re your insurance company, hang up and call them.
“Call them on the number you know and you trust so that way you won’t fall into any of these scams because they’re good,” Werling said. “They do a good job. They can spoof the number so it looks like it’s coming from the insurance company or police department because they have equipment that does that.”
The West Liberty Fire and Ambulance Departments aren’t the only government entity to have to deal with scammers using their name. Werling said recently Johnson County people spoofed a number making it look like it was an official call coming from them.
“But it was a scam of some sort where they said ‘you need to pay or we’re going to turn off your lights or water,’” Werling said.
Another common scam is getting a phone call telling you to pay up or you’ll have a warrant out for your arrest, he added.
If you feel liked you’ve been scammed Werling advises you to call local law enforcement to report it.
If you gave out personal information, Werling suggests using an identity service, such as LifeLock, to monitor your credit in case someone tries to use your name.
“That’s the best thing to do because they will alert you when something pops up,” Werling said.