"If you are unsure about a potential phone scam, please contact the CCSO before you act."

- Sheriff Wooten

Call 384-7675  (non-emergency  911) or 384-4227 and ask to speak with a law enforcement officer.

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 5, 2017

Protect Yourself from Phone Scams

 

     The Coffee County Sheriff's Office generally receives multiple reports daily from citizens regarding suspected telephone scams.

The simplest way to minimize your exposure to scam calls is to monitor your incoming calls carefully. Start by not picking up calls from unknown numbers. If the information is important or urgent, callers will probably leave a voicemail or find another way to contact you.

You could also Google the number, as other people may have logged complaints in online communities like 800Notes, Caller Complaints, and WhoCalledUs.

Here is some detailed information on some common scams, including what to watch out for to prevent becoming a victim.

 

IRS Phone Scams

  • The IRS routinely hears from taxpayers who have received unsolicited calls from individuals demanding payment while fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS.

  • Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail. A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment.

  • That is not how the IRS operates. The IRS:

    • Never asks for credit card, debit card, or prepaid card information over the telephone;

    • Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations; and

    • Never requests immediate payment over the telephone. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.

  • Potential phone scam victims may be told that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or they're entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, phone scammers sometimes call back trying new strategies.

  • Fraudsters have convincing methods of persuading people that they're legitimate IRS agents, including:

    • Using fake names (often common names and surnames) and IRS badge numbers;

    • Reciting the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number;

    • Spoofing the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling;

    • Sending bogus IRS e-mails to victims to support their bogus calls; and

    • Following up with bogus calls from someone pretending to be the local police or DMV to support threats of jail time or driver's license revocation.

    • Victims may even hear background noise that mimics a call site.

 

Response Strategies

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is one.

  • If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do (for example, you've never received a bill, or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484.

  • If you've been targeted by an IRS-related scam, you can also use the Federal Trade Commission's online "FTC Complaint Assistant." Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

 

Other Potential Phone Scams

     Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and e-mail scams that use the tax agency as a lure. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also doesn't ask for your personal identification number, password, or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank, or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov.

     For more information or to report a scam, go to www.irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.

If you've noticed an increase in unsolicited phone calls -- even though you're on the Do Not Call registry -- you're not alone. The FTC and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warn that these calls may appear to come from a local business, your bank, a neighbor or even from yourself. The point is to get you to pick up the phone.

     It's known as caller ID "spoofing" technology, and scam artists use it to impersonate other callers. The variety of scam calls seems never-ending. Some connect you to a live person on the other end, while others start with a recording, also known as a "robocall."

Either way, you probably didn't win a prize. If the caller offers to lower the interest rate on your credit card if you verify your credit card number, take the advice of the FTC -- just hang up. In addition:

  • Don't press any buttons. The caller may instruct you to press a button to speak to an agent, be removed from the call list, or register a complaint. As tempting as that might be, by pressing a button, you might actually be agreeing to something.

  • Look up numbers yourself. Even if you think the call might have a legitimate purpose, such as a problem with your bank account, it's still safer to hang up. Then, use your account statement to find a number directly. Call the bank and explain what happened. They'll be able to tell you if the call was legitimate.

  • Reveal nothing. Never give out personal financial information. If you didn't initiate the call, don't provide bank account or credit card numbers, your Social Security number, or even your birth date or age.

SAFETY TIPS

Be sure to visit the Safety Tips link below and review the information we have provided under the Community Awareness flyers or the other links. You may print flyers for your use to distribute to your club, school, library, or group.

CCSO CAUTIONS CITIZENS ABOUT PHONE SCAMS

Georgia DNR Encourages Summer Water Safety

SPLASH Initiative Saves Lives

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 4, 2017     

     With summer upon us, local agencies are reminding Georgians of the importance of water safety. Last year, more than 200 Georgians drowned while swimming, boating, playing near water or even taking baths. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were approximately 10 water-related deaths per day across the country during the last decade. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children 1 to 4 years of age, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The state’s water-safety initiative, SPLASH, aims to greatly reduce the number of these deaths and injuries.

     SPLASH encourage citizens to follow these tips when enjoying beaches, pools, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water:

  • Supervision – Designate an adult to watch children at all times. Do not assume someone else is watching.

  • Prevention – Wear personal flotation devices (PFD or life jacket), install fencing around pools, and use drain covers in hot tubs and pools.

  • Look- before you leap – Never jump into water without knowing how deep it is and what is below the surface.

  • Arm’s Length – Adults should be arm’s length to children in water, and safety tools such as hooks should be nearby at all times.

  • Swim Lessons – Knowing how to swim greatly reduces the chance of drowning. Classes are often available through the Red Cross or YMCA.

  • Have a Water Safety Plan – Know what to do during an emergency. The campaign includes bilingual brochures, boat checks by law enforcement officers, public service announcements and videos, and social media messaging.

      The DNR is in the process of adding “loaner boards” with PFDs at public boat ramps, and these locations will be added to the Georgia Outdoors app The SPLASH campaign has many partners, including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, American Red Cross, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Georgia Power and others.

     Have a safe summer!

-Georgia Department of Natural Resources

TRAFFIC CITATIONS / TICKETING

     Traffic citations are issued for various violations of traffic law. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may suspended.

     If you wish to dispute the citation, you must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a “not guilty” plea.

     Many traffic citations issued by the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office or the Georgia State Patrol can be paid online through the Coffee County Clerk of Court at https://coffee.governmentwindow.com/ticket.html.

     Contact the Clerk’s office directly at (912) 384-2865.

Traffic Citations News and Notes

Have a question about an inmate, visitation, or need to get in touch with our jail administration?

Contact the Coffee County Jail directly at (912) 383-6398.