WASHINGTON — Con artists simply don’t give up. They keep coming up with new ways to separate you from your money. And a local sheriff’s office is warning of a freshened-up version of an old scam.
In Loudoun County, Virginia, the sheriff’s office says residents recently received alerts on their cellphones. The urgent text message is claiming to be from the “Loudoun Credit Union.” It goes on to say that, “your visa been temporarily DEACTIVATED”.
Here are where the red flags should be going up: the message wants you to call the “Loudoun Card Services 24hr line” and gives a phone number with a 703 area code.
Once you call, it wants your 16-digit credit card number, expiration date and PIN number. The sheriff’s office warns if you give out that information, you are basically handing it over to scam artists, allowing outside access to your account.
The urgent text message scam isn’t the only one seen in Loudoun County recently.
Also, the sheriff’s office says in recent weeks, residents have reported a scam that’s happened in the past in Loudoun County where someone calls and says they’re from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and tells you that there’s a warrant out for your arrest.
But here’s the catch: the sheriff’s office says police or government agencies will never ask you to pay money to deal with an arrest warrant.
In the scam, the victims’ caller ID shows the call is coming from the sheriff’s office. But police warn that caller ID is susceptible to fraud. So the caller ID only looks like the call is coming from the county sheriff’s office when it really isn’t.
The sheriff’s office warns if you suspect you’ve gotten a call from a scammer posing as law enforcement or posing as someone from a government agency, you should hang up and immediately call the sheriff’s office at 703 777-1021.
Police also warn you to be very skeptical if you are being asked to provide money — either through a money transfer or via a pre-paid money card. The sheriff’s office says all types of scams are taking place constantly.
Also, scam artists don’t just hit one area — they usually spread the wealth. So don’t be surprised if you see this scam being played out across our region, police say.