By Marissa Hatlen
Law enforcement officials are warning the public that an old scam is resurfacing, in which individuals receive a call from someone claiming to be a law enforcement or government official. The scammers direct the recipient to send payment immediately, and threaten legal action, IRS audits, or even arrests if the individual does not pay the fake fine. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says that an immediate request for money over the phone is the first clue that you’re dealing with a scammer. Legitimate government agencies, he says, will never ask for direct payments without full notification by mail. Scammers hope the threat of legal action will scare their targets into paying quickly without thinking about the circumstances.
Joski advises requesting a callback number, which a legitimate government entity will always provide; scammers, he says, are likely to give up because they haven’t found a quick and easy target. If you think you may have fees, fines, or legal action pending, you can contact your local circuit court or sheriff’s department to confirm that information. Anyone who receives a scam message like this should report it to their local sheriff’s office.