Cuyahoga County Scam Squad warns ‘imposter’ scams are increasingly popular

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 6:12 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cuyahoga County Scam Squad is warning about the most popular scam in our area.

It’s a story police and the Federal Trade Commission hear time and time again.

A person calls you claiming to work for an agency and is demanding money now.

Usually, you, the target, are in trouble.

“Often they pretend to be a sheriff’s deputy, said Founder of Cuyahoga County Scam Squad Sheryl Harris. “Sometimes they’ll pretend to be a federal agent and they say you’re in trouble with the law in some ways.”

Harris said this kind of scam preys on people’s emotions and they’re effective.

It’s why they’ve become the FTC’s most commonly reported scam.

“People get upset when they get these calls,” said Harris. “People generally want to live within the law and so they start interacting with these people like, ‘this is a mistake, let me fix it.’”

Ironically, it’s after you send that money that you need to fix the situation and often times you can’t get that money back.

So how can you avoid falling victim? Harris says look out for these red flags:

-A sense of urgency. Scammers will often say the issue needs to be handled “right away.”

-A demand for money, especially in the form of cryptocurrency or a gift card.

-Threatening behavior. No honest business or the government will do this.

The FTC suggests taking a moment to think about these things before you rush to appease the caller, and check with the real agency.

It could make all the difference for you and your family’s safety and security.