Sheriff’s Office warns of telephone fraud scheme

By Joe Beck

The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fraud case in which someone bilked a local resident out of thousands of dollars by identifying himself as a representative of the Sheriff’s Office.

Capt. Wesley Dellinger of the Sheriff’s Office said someone called the victim Wednesday and issued a threat of arrest if he or she did not pay back taxes. The scammer told the victim to obtain a Reloadit card and place a certain amount of money on it. The caller also gave the victim a fake badge number.

Dellinger said the same suspect made a second call posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent. The scammer asked the victim to send more money to the Reloadit card.

Dellinger estimated the victim lost a total of $10,000 from the two phone calls.

“We want to get this out there,” Dellinger said. “The Sheriff’s Office had nothing to do with anything like this. These are fraudulent calls being performed.”

Dellinger said anyone with doubts about someone stating he is with the Sheriff’s Office should hang up, call the Sheriff’s Office or dispatch and ask to speak with a supervisor.

Dellinger said people should not be deceived by a digital readout showing a phone call originating at the Sheriff’s Office 459-6100 number.

“That’s called spoofing,” Dellinger said, adding that the scammer is hiding his true phone number from the victim.

Dellinger said most telephone fraud schemes originate from outside the United States.

“We’re still investigating this particular incident,” Dellinger said. “At this time we don’t believe it’s anyone local.”

Dellinger said the IRS doesn’t accept money on Reloadit cards or similar payment instruments.

“We’re just asking if anyone receives a phone call similar to this in nature to contact the Sheriff’s Office so we can add it to our investigation,” Dellinger said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com