Sheriff warns of identity theft scam using department's name

and Sam Wheeler

If someone claiming to be a deputy from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department calls you and demands payment on a case, just hang up the phone, police say.

Last weekend, a Talent woman received such a phone call, the Sheriff's Department reported. The caller claimed to be Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Bryan Duncan and said the department was owed money in a case. He told the woman she would owe thousands of dollars if she didn't pay immediately.

The victim gave the caller financial information linked to her Social Security benefits card and hung up, but later realized the call was an identity-theft scam. She was able to cancel her Social Security benefits card in time and did not lose any money, the sheriff's department said.

"The Jackson County Sheriff's Office will never call and demand money," the department said in a release.

"This happens a lot all over the U.S., but specifically with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, it has not," said sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson.

The Social Security benefits card program was rolled out by the Social Security Administration as a pilot program about five years ago and is gaining popularity among seniors as a means for receiving benefit payments, according to an independent prepaid card industry report published in 2011.

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