A phone with information surrounding it
How to Protect Yourself from Phone Scams

In today’s digital world, phone scams are an unfortunate reality, affecting people of all ages and
backgrounds. Sheriff Joey East recently shared insights into some of the most common phone
scams targeting residents in Lafayette County and discussed crucial steps to protect yourself
and loved ones from falling victim to these schemes.

Never give money over the phone.

“One scam going on now involves someone calling and saying you have a family member that’s
been arrested,” said Sheriff East. “They say you need to pay money to this number.”
These scams primarily target families of out-of-state college students who may have trouble
reaching their children, exploiting the emotional vulnerability of parents who worry about their
children’s well-being.

Sheriff East stressed that legitimate law enforcement agencies will never ask for money over
the phone. If someone claims a family member is in custody and demands immediate payment
through a charge or gift card instead of instructing you to visit the police station, it’s a major red

Scammers can appear official.

“We’re seeing that with a lot of these, scammers can give law enforcement names, numbers,
and addresses,” said Sheriff East, making the reason they’re calling seem legitimate. “They give
you all these credentials, potentially getting the information online.”

In some cases, scammers can even disguise their phone number, appearing to be calling from
the Sheriff’s department. Sheriff East advised that you can always hang up the phone and call
the official business number to verify the authenticity of a call. Legitimate authorities will be able
to confirm if you received a call from them.

Report suspicious calls.

If you’ve received a call you believe was from a scammer, Sheriff East asks you to call the
Sheriff’s department to provide information on the call. Law enforcement officers can provide
guidance and investigate potential scams.

Those who have fallen victim to scams should make a report as soon as possible. Depending
on the extent of the information shared, victims may need assistance in securing their finances
and preventing further damage.

Educate your family members.

Phone scammers frequently target the elderly and younger generations alike. To protect your
elderly family members, Sheriff East recommends staying connected and educating them about
common scams. Advise them to verify any suspicious calls with local authorities.

For younger individuals who may be targeted, the Sheriff emphasized the importance of being
skeptical and questioning the legitimacy of unexpected calls. Younger victims often fall prey to
scams due to fear tactics used by scammers

Sheriff East urged Lafayette County residents to be vigilant and trust their instincts.

“If it’s too good to be true, it’s not true. If it doesn’t sound right, then it’s not right,” he said.