Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Jana Mathia
Colfax Daily Bulletin 

Fraudsters claim repeat victim


October 22, 2020

COLFAX - As if being the victim of scammers once wasn’t bad enough, citizens are now being targeted and falling prey to fraudsters using the information from the past scam.

Police Chief Bruce Blood reported recent fraud cases wherein the prey had been victimized about a year prior. The scammers used the information from that fraud to create credibility in the new scam. Scammers pose as officers of official agencies trying to help the victim reclaim their lost funds or catch the thieves.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it is,” Blood reiterated.

In one case, photos of FBI credentials were texted to the victim to legitimize the activity. Blood said the photos were mined from an FBI source.

In another, the scammer presented himself as a Social Security agent, claiming their social security number had been used in illegal drug activity.

“It was a little more threatening,” Blood said about that one.

To “catch the crooks,” the phony agent claimed to protect the victim’s money, their money needed to be transferred to an escrow account. The cases both included scammers asking the victim to put their money in a compromised position to trap the thieves.

“Agents, police officers, FBI aren’t going to have you risk your money to capture other people,” Blood said.

Another way scammers are building fake credibility is by hijacking local telephone numbers so caller ID shows a local number. Those hijacked number are routed through other sites that make it hard to track. One attempted fraud used the Colfax Police Department number, posing as another agency. The intended victim hung up and called the number back which actually connected him with the local police.

Blood advised, when in doubt about a call, hang up and contact your local agency.

“You don’t want to provide any of your (personal) information,” Blood said. He pointed out official agencies already have information like Social Security numbers and bank accounts, they do not need people to give the whole number.

Scammers cast a wide net, so everyone needs to be aware to prevent the scam. Locally, intended victims range in age from 20s to elderly.

Author Bio

Jana Mathia, Reporter

Jana Mathia is a reporter at the Whitman County Gazette.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 509-397-4333
Contact Jana Mathia


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