Phone scam in Adams County

Staff Writer

Decatur Daily Democrat

    Adams County Sheriff Dan Mawhorr announced a possible phone scam has been reported in Adams County.
    The sheriff’s department received a report Thursday from an area resident stating she had received a phone call allegedly from the IRS, who had issued a warrant for her husband’s arrest. The man then threatened to send deputies to arrest her husband.
    While scams of this nature have been reported in the past, a new twist to the scheme is the caller states he is with the sheriff’s office in Decatur, Indiana. The caller even instructed the woman to call his “dispatch center” for verification. However, the number he provided — 260-570-4226 — is not the number of the Adams County Sheriff’s Department. He then instructed her to use extension 705 to reach him directly.
    Mawhorr said the phone number does go through a “routing” type call center, similar to how the Adams County Sheriff’s Office phone sounds when someone calls, stating “Thank you for contacting Adams County Sheriff’s Department,” followed by a list of options to choose from.
    The caller then began requesting the woman’s phone and license plate numbers, and told the woman he must be notified every time they left the residence, with detailed mileage and time reports.  He told the couple they couldn’t leave the house without requesting permission first, and told her to stay home until deputies could get there.
    “We will not request this info over the phone,” Mawhorr said, “nor demand this type of information from you.”    
    The woman then told the caller she would simply drive to the sheriff’s department to straighten things out, to which he played along. Once the man began asking how she and her husband would pay for fines, and the woman asked his badge number, the man hung up the phone.
    “This phone number has been shut down, but similar calls could still happen with different phone numbers,” Mawhorr said in a news release. “We will never ask you on the phone for payment information, so this should be a HUGE red flag. If you think a call from someone claiming to be with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is a scam, simply call our dispatch center at 260-724-5345 and ask the dispatcher to double check the information. They will be able to verify the information for you. The officer can also provide you with his/her badge number, if requested.”