The Sheridan Police Department stopped a telephone fraud operation when it tried to prey on a Sheridan citizen this week. The citizen complained on Thursday to the police about receiving multiple harassing phone calls from someone claiming to represent a payday loan firm who insisted her account was delinquent. Because the recipient of the call had never been that type of loan business, her suspicions were raised and she reported the incident.
Police officer, Adam Balthazor followed up by calling the number and posing as a friend of the individual who allegedly owed money. The fraudster, who identified himself as “Mike,” said he was from the Department of Legal Affairs and Investigation in California, and said punitive action was in the works due to non-payment on the account.
After Officer Baltazor identified himself, “Mike” changed his tune and shamelessly admitted he knew he was breaking the law.
Baltazor attempted to further interrogate the admitted criminal, but was met with a wall of resistance. The investigation regarding the source of the call is ongoing.
The Sheridan Police Department encourages citizens to remain vigilant of potential telephonic fraud and report suspicious calls immediately. Detective, Jim Arzy, said anyone with a number listed in a phone book could be targeted for a similar scam. He said if a situation doesn't seem right, it's probably not, and citizens should trust their instincts. Also, the police department is always willing to help verify a business's legitimacy or help through a questionable situation. Arzy said it's unknown what the scammers do with the money, but said it could be anything from petty crime to international terrorism.
The call came from phone number 415-952-5967, which Arzy believes may be a cell phone purchased in California and sent overseas.
To hear the entire phone call captured by the Sheridan Police Department, click here. (Editor's Note: the name of the victim has been censored for privacy)