Earlier this week, a Sheridan man fell victim to not one but two phone scams involving nearly $5,000. Deputy Katie Kennedy with the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office explains.
The man wired $2,500 to the scammer, believing the caller was a family member in dire need of money.
But that's just the beginning. The victim contacted his real relative and realized he was duped. Then, he called local law enforcement to report the incident.
The Sheriff's Office tried to return his call with no success. But by the time deputies ended up speaking with the victim, he said he was sure he had already spoken with investigators.
After speaking with the scammer who claimed to be law enforcement setting up a sting operation on the first scam, the victim wired an additional $2,300. Kennedy said the Sheriff's Office was able to intercept the second transfer of funds before they were in the scammer's hands and return it to the local man.
Kennedy said that is not always possible and offers some tips on dealing with a caller who claims to be with law enforcement.
But how did the man get fooled in the first place into thinking a stranger was actually a family member in need? Kennedy has an idea.
Kennedy is in the process of working with Western Union in an attempt to trace the recipient of the first wire transfer. Impersonating anyone in itself is identity fraud, Kennedy says. But impersonating law enforcement carries stiffer penalties. The Sheriff's Office does not have any leads are known at this time, but the case is still under investigation.
Editor's note: Sheridan Media's Tracee Davis contributed to this report.