Sheriff Miller warns about scams that continue targeting Onslow citizens

Additional scam information released from the OCSO by Sheriff Miller, warning citizens to take heed of warnings that a variety of scams are targeting citizens.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller released additional information this afternoon about ongoing scams, warning citizens to be aware.

Back in April, the OCSO released a post notifying citizens of several scams that had been brought to our attention.  This week they’ve learned from a citizen that there is a new one out there, and Sheriff Miller wants everyone to be aware of it.  They are referring to this as the, “Medicare SCAM.”

 The caller, claiming to be with Medicare Health Services called asking the citizen for information. The caller somehow already had the citizen’s social security number but was trying to gather more information under the claim that they would increase the citizen’s Medicare benefits.  The press release specifically states, “THIS IS NOT TRUE AND IS A SCAM!!!!!!”

The citizen luckily did not provide any additional information and immediately called the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Miller again emphasizes, “NEVER, EVER give ANY kind of personal information to anyone over the phone!  A legitimate business will correspond with you through letters sent through the US Postal Service, or certified letter.  No legitimate business will ask for personal information (address, phone number, social security number, bank account information, etc) over the telephone!”

Be Aware of additional scams we are experiencing in our area that are noted below.

“Arrest Warrant SCAM”- Where the incoming call could come from a different area code or even a local number that citizens don’t recognize.  Many times, that number is “spoofed” and not in service.  Sometimes, the incoming caller has a foreign accent, but not always.  The caller may allege that the answering party owes the government a certain amount of money and that an arrest warrant will be issued unless the answering person pays that amount.  Then, the caller will “offer” to collect the money by a telephonic credit card transaction and give a different telephone number for the answering party to call back. (Previous SCAMs have asked the answering party to purchase a gift card from a local vendor and pass the card number to the caller.)

The “Tax SCAM”- Please know that our national, state or local governments do NOT collect back taxes by calling citizens and asking for credit card numbers or gift cards by phone.  If taxes are properly owed, notifications will be made by United States Mail.

“Jury SCAM”- A false allegation that a citizen did not report for jury duty. (Call the court house jury coordinator directly for verification).

Sympathy SCAM” A relative in police custody needing bail money, or in a medical facility needing money. 

The Onslow Beat received notice of one example where this type of scam occurred just a few weeks ago involving one Onslow County family. It’s also referred to as the “Grandparents Scam”.

Kristin Laney told The Onslow Beat just how this scam targeted her father and used their son as the “cause”.

 Four or five years ago, when my son (Joey) was in high school, my father got a phone call. My parents live in Wisconsin and we obviously live here in NC. My dad doesn’t have the best hearing, similar to many grandparents, and the first thing he heard was a voice “Grandpa?”. Of course, my dad immediately responded with “Joey, is that you?”. The next thing my dad heard was an adult male who told him that Joey was in trouble and he needed his help. He told my dad that Joey had been in a car with some other kids and they were pulled over. Drugs were found in the car, and while Joey wasn’t driving and didn’t own the car, he was still in trouble because no one would claim the drugs. Supposedly, Joey had been “arrested” and would need to go to court and money was needed to take care of the situation. As a note, my poor father is not very world-wise and fell for all of this hook, line and sinker. He never sent the money, but this individual called him repeatedly over several weeks telling my father that Joey was in court, the individual stated that he was able to pick Joey up from school for this because he was law enforcement, without my knowledge. The caller repeatedly told my dad that he couldn’t talk to anyone about it because the kids were underage and that he couldn’t call me about it.

My mother continually told my dad that it sounded fishy and that she knew how I was raising my son. He was never in a location when I didn’t know where he was. Ultimately, they finally called me one day to see what was going on and I was able to tell them that it was entirely fake. At that time, I knew Hans Miller and told my parents that I could get in contact with him to verify all the information. Before I was able to do that, my dad contacted their local county sheriff with whom he is friends. The sheriff told my dad it was a scam and that they usually picked on older people because they sometimes have difficulty hearing, will respond with the grandchild’s name, and will do anything to help their grandkids. I did send the info to the OCSO just so they could put it out there. We were lucky that my dad didn’t send the money they were requesting and it turned out fine but someone else might not be so lucky. -Kristin Laney


“Sweepstakes or Lottery Win SCAM”  Asking for a “handling fee.”  Fraud. This particular scam has targeted Instagram users as well as by phone. Read more here.

“Data Mining SCAM” where an unknown or unverified party asks for personal or bank account information.  “Phishing”

“Debt Consolidation Loan SCAM” offer that’s too good to be true.  No free money.

Sheriff Miller urges citizens, “Please protect yourself, your family, your property and even your friends & neighbors.  Please be careful to VERIFY before you trust. Help spread the word especially to the elderly, or those who do not have access to a computer. NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY WILL ASK ANYONE TO PAY BY TELEPHONE USING A GIFT CARD OR PREPAID DEBIT CARD!”

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