GREENPORT—Columbia County residents should carefully scrutinize any communication they receive by phone, e-mail or in writing requesting money or offering money-making deals while also soliciting personal information, according to a press release from Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.
The sheriff says his office has received reports from county residents who have gotten phone calls from people who identify themselves as a family member and then ask to have money wired to them because they are in some kind of dilemma.
Any unsolicited calls or correspondence from someone identifying him- or herself as a family member in need of money should be verified by independent means before funds are sent. Personal account or other information should never be provided, Sheriff Harrison said in the release.
Often when investigators follow-up by calling the phone number given, it has already been taken out of service.
Several residents told the sheriff, they believe their family information may have been obtained from their Facebook page or other social networking sites. Residents are also getting e-mails and letters by fax, identifying themselves as someone associated with a bank in Africa.
These scams have been going on for several years. The names and addresses may change, but the general workings of the scams are the same, the sheriff said.