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The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office is once again warning citizens about a phone scam that is making the rounds in the Treasure Valley.  The scam – commonly known as “phone spoofing” or “caller ID spoofing” – is when a scammer uses caller ID spoofing technology to impersonate the phone numbers of local businesses or government agency in an attempt to get some sort of personal information or money.

Several recent instances of “phone spoofing” that have been reported involve a scammer calling from what appears to be the County’s main phone number of (208) 454-7300 and impersonating a Canyon County Sheriff’s Office employee in an attempt to get money from an individual.  In each instance, the scammer claimed that he worked for the Sheriff’s Office and that he needed to collect money or a warrant would be issued for their arrest.

“This is a scam we’ve seen numerous times this year in Canyon County where the scammer pretends to be in a position of authority to scare people into giving them money,” said Sheriff Kieran Donahue. “I just want to reiterate that this is not a tactic that my office or any Sheriff’s Office in the state would ever use.  We do not contact people over the phone and tell them to pay a fee or face arrest.  I would advise anyone who receives a call like this to report it to authorities.”

Here are some additional tips from the Better Business Bureau on what to do if a scammer calls:

  • Hang up – don’t press any buttons and, if you received a voicemail, don’t call the scammer back. We all like to have the last word, but returning the phone call may just give the scammer information they can use.
  • Don’t trust caller ID – scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen.
  • Never give out any financial information – if you did not initiate the call, do not provide bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers over the phone unless you have thoroughly done your research and verified the caller.