Scam alert

Missouri Capitol Police report scammers are manipulating Caller ID so calls appear to be coming from Missouri Capitol Police.

“This is a scam known as spoofing and can be used to try to obtain personal information from you. Do not fall for this scam,” states a release from Capitol Police.

More than two dozen people who received these fraudulent calls reached out to Capitol Police. The greatest number of reports of fraudulent calls appear to have come from people in Missouri and Texas.

“Unfortunately, spoofing phone numbers of trusted organizations or local numbers by fraudulent callers is all too common,” states the release.

State Capitol police are not the only law enforcement reporting an uptick in scams. Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports several recent scams have ben circulating in the area. Scams have included a person calling registered sex offenders claiming to be a sheriff’s office detective and people making spoof social profiles to defraud residents out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has intercepted and returned more than $800,000 in cash that victims sent to scammers so far in 2021,” states a sheriff’s office social media post from October. “Have a frank discussion with older loved ones to educate them about scams and the need to protect their privacy on social media accounts.”

Another scam recently circulating here in Clay County is the “romance military scam.”

“A scammer posing as a U.S. military general or commander contacts women online and tries to develop a romantic relationship with them. The scammer says he wants to come back to the United States to be with the victim, but he is stuck overseas with his money tied up in the United Nations and cannot get home,” states a sheriff’s office social media post. “He asks for money to return home so they can be together. This scam targets elderly women.”

To help Missourians stay safe, law enforcement agencies suggest these tips:

• Do not answer calls from unknown phone numbers.

• Do not hit any buttons if the caller asks you to. Hang up immediately.

• Do not answer any questions, especially ones regarding your personal information.

• Never reveal personal information like your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, passwords or credit card numbers.

• Never assume the caller is the person they say they are. If you receive a call from somebody representing a company or a government agency, hang up and call back the phone number on the company or agency’s website. This will allow you to verify the caller.

“Understand that scammers are experienced at manipulating people to gain their trust through deception. Always be skeptical. Hang up immediately if you think you’re being scammed to avoid becoming a victim,” states the Capitol Police release.

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